Fade Friday – Levi’s 511 Rigid Dragon (20 Months, 2 Washes)

Fade Friday - Levi's 511 Rigid Dragon (20 Months, 2 Washes)

Fade Friday – Levi’s 511 Rigid Dragon (20 Months, 2 Washes)

This week’s Fade Friday showcases a pair of Levi’s 511 Rigid Dragon courtesy of reader, Kostia, after 21 months of hard wear and just two washes. As part of a program in which Levi’s aims to minimize water in the finishing process, they’re constructed of a deep indigo 11.2 oz. denim and serve as a great option for newcomers to raw denim given the low price tag.

Despite some may not be impressed with the non-selvedge finishing, as can be seen by the photos below, the progress from 5 to 12 months is impressive and substantial fades developed in all the right places. Additionally, after 20 months and 1 wash, there’s visible wear and tear (particularly on the wallet pocket) and significant color contrast throughout. The frayed and tattered portions along with the deep honey comb patterns give the jeans a rustic, genuine look.


  • Name: Levi’s 511 Slim Fit Jeans – Rigid Dragon
  • Weight: 11.2 oz.
  • Fit: Slim Fit
  • Denim: 99% Cottton, 1% Spandex
  • Cost: $48 through Levi’s

Photos: Before


Photos: After

After 5 months and no washes

After 5 months and no washes

After 12 months and no washes

After 12 months and no washes

After 12 months and 1 wash

After 12 months and 1 wash

After 21 months and 1 wash

After 21 months and 1 wash

After 21 months and 2 washes

After 21 months and 2 washes

After 21 months and 2 washes

After 21 months and 2 washes

Roger Mignott

Roger hails from Queens, NY and has long been into fashion and raw denim but from an urban/street wear perspective. One of his long time friends who designs clothing for a living initially introduced him to the nitty gritty details of fashion and growing his keen interest in raw denim.

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  • Wazzifer

    This is incredible.

  • Kyle

    These look really nice, good fading considering the low price. The only downside is that with denim of this quality, you have no choice but to go very long periods of time without washing in order to get good fades. If the wearer had washed once every 3-4 months, there would be a big difference compared to a higher-quality fabric washed with the same frequency. Anyway, good job on these.

    • Devan Prithipaul

      I really like the color on these jeans and the overall fades are good. Not super high contrast but that’s ok. The knee fade and combs seem a little low, even considering they are cuffed.

    • http://mediasyrup.com/ Mister56

      Did you miss the 5 month photos? Most denim heads go at least 6 months before washing. Considering the low price, and denim of this quality, you have no choice but to say good fading; considering the fades look good.


    damn, nice job on “rigid dragons”. I wonder how long it took to show wear..

    • vacations_on

      As you can see they looked all black in the very beginning, and it took them a full year to show real wear. I couldn’t get any decent whiskers or honeycombs earlier.

  • HGS

    Agreed, if you are gonna go the “no washing, beat the shit out of” route, do it on a pair of Levis. These look great

  • Ryan Chinaski

    not selvedge. dont care.

    • Wazzifer

      Go back to hypebeast you pretentious fuck, and while you’re at it you might as well grab every other douchebag with you.

      • Ryan Chinaski

        lol got you to bite. I win.

        • http://mediasyrup.com/ Mister56

          You want a dude to bite you?

          That really was not your intent, if it was you would have not reacted like a 3 grader with the words special across your report card. If you really wanted that type of response you would have strung him along a bit. Although, maybe that’s the response you wanted and then you blew it by reacting like a 3 grader with the words special across your report card. Go Ryan Go Ryan you can do it, jump off that bridge! Derp Derp.

          • Ryan Chinaski

            i didnt understand half of that. glad you saved one of your 14 comments for me. it means alot. my profile is public. it easy to see i love talking shit. i enjoy getting a rise.

            besides, shouldnt you be busy working on Media Syrup? or is business not doing well? do me a favor and go die.

          • http://mediasyrup.com/ Mister56

            You should ask your teacher for extra help with your grammar. Your writing is poor, and is an indicator of you intelligence. Ok by.

          • Ryan Chinaski

            you and your bandmates are sooooo cool. ill keep an eye out for your next EP bruh bruh

          • http://mediasyrup.com/ Mister56

            Bruh bruh? Brouhaha maybe? Dumb shit.

          • Ryan Chinaski

            you must be too old to recognize my hip lingo. but look at your impeccable style! and the figure to boot!

          • Ryan Chinaski

            do us all a favor and stick to watching porn on your overly large computer screen

          • http://mediasyrup.com/ Mister56

            Cool you can use a search function. Creep. Maybe you can get a job after you learn how to write better. Broham.

        • Referee

          Could you please grow up!

          • Macason

            Agreed fine sir.

  • kai

    Excellent contrast bruised and battered jeans with a little darning work the way I like it jeans that is run into the ground . And the price is hard to resist that is why it is an upwards battle compared to artisanial denim fabrication !
    A good example is on your previous article about LIVID JEANS were some guy’s were questioning the price of this denim .
    So following on from what OLE said you just cant justify a pair of jeans on price alone with out taking everything into consideration . It means that nobody will be able to compete with the best of japan because the denim materials getting shipped out of that country is going to have price cost effect on any artisanial brand anywhere in the world .
    It is going to be far more expensive than samurai , momotaro , etc these guy’s work with one another ! Pesonaly I quite like those livid jeans I wish I could afford them myself to me brands like them are far more exclusive than the big guns limited numbers made and you cant find them in most shops thats what I call a premium

    So I think we should support those up and coming brands and lets see what these guys bring to the table in the future in terms of design and inovation .
    Dont let the numbers blind your view looking at those pictures of levis they will be around for along time to come at those prices !!!

    • BillygoatsGruff312

      Not sure the high cost of jap denim should necessarily increase the price of domistic artisan brands. I mean, pretty much all the US brand (including Livid) are using Cone denim. They’ve been growing cotton in the South for over 200 years now (I can’t imagine these companies are paying as much as jap companies who have to import their cotton from Africa or the US).

      So, Livid and these other US brands could justify a high price in international markets they export to, but not domestic sales. A $375 price tag on Cone denim sold in the US is baldfaced mark-up (they are putting at least an extra $150 onto the pricetag to just posture the brand as “super premium denim”…and profit).

      Anyway…this is kinda a continuation of the Livid discussion so it might belong in that thread. But, I didn’t follow the logic of your argument that nobody can compete with jap brands, when by all objective measures, it should cost significantly less to produce and sell a pair of American jeans (made with domestic cotton) in America than it is to make jeans in Japan (from imported cotton) and sell them in America.

      • http://www.gilt.com/invite/tman916 Thomas

        I think justification for overpricing domestic products even though they’re cheaper to produce/distribute has to do with evening out prices internationally. There’s some brands that do not do this and also do not ship out of the United States like Levi’s but if artisanal brands were found at much cheaper prices in the US compared to international retailers then what would stop people from purchasing only from US retailers and eating the difference in shipping/customs fees?

      • kai

        I agree with some of your points of course homemade or domestic products should always be cheaper ! That was exactly my point
        For example if I was to start my own brand and import say ! Japanese denim as we all agree is best at the moment .
        There is no way on earth I would be able to get close to the same price as samurai with the exact same fabric ! Fees for small batches , shipping fees , custom fees , vat , not to mention the exchange rate
        How would I compete ?
        The answer is charging that little bit more for being ARTISAN my sweat and labour limited number of jeans being produced
        Possible waiting list a good chance you will not be able to by jeans anywhere .
        Does every artist charge the same price for every painting they paint with the exact same ink’s , brushes , canvas , etc no !!
        I can charge a 1000 bucks ive I wanted it all depends who will pay for it . Being a thousand bucks more people will talk about it more negative than positive but someone will buy because they believe they are buying exclusive .
        Its not the best jeans we buy into it is the best marketing .

      • Sean

        I’m thinking when you write, “jap …,” it’s because you’re abbreviating. It’s kind of hard to tell because brevity doesn’t seem to be your game. Hopefully, dropping the “jap” multiple times had no sinister connotation. Anyway, Happy Fade Friday.

  • BillygoatsGruff312

    Decent pair of yardwork jeans. Good FF pick. Would have been better if there were some f i t p i c s….but still a good FF.

  • Grandier

    it’s no selvedge, but it’s just as impressive as the rest of the fade fridays. good stuff.

  • QBNY

    This just proves that your jean can cost $350.00 to just $50.00… As long as you make a commitment, you can leave you mark on any denim out there. Good Job.

  • Davil

    i love this pair, and I’m not really surprised. When it comes to denim, dollar for dollar, a normal pair of Levis is pretty hard to beat. Although I’ve never tried the waterless denim, these make me want to take that jump. I regularly keep a pair of stf 501′s in my rotation. I like the cut of the 514′s even better, (both are nonselvedge btw). Even though the quality may differ depending on which country you buy them from, or which country that they are made in, the standard of quality in a pair of levis is reasonably high considering the price of about $35-$50. You may not get all of the extras that you get when you pay for a premium pair of denim, but you are getting every bit of your moneys worth.

    • Geo

      If you’ve ever worn raw denim, you’ve tried “waterless” jeans. Levis is merely capitalizing on the “green” trend and using it as a marketing gimmick to advertise their jeans as better for the environment because they’re produced using less water. Think about it. After the dying process, how much water does it take to produce a pair of raw denim? None. They cut down on water by not pre-distressing the jeans and running them through multiple washes. Chances are your stf 501′s are produced in the exact same manner as the “waterless” denim. Levis is just trying to sell their product to a different demographic by using multiple marketing strategies.

  • anderand

    Those fades and the jeans overall look gross. I love a good wallet pocket blowout, but the denim quality looks shit and these pants actually LOOK gross. Never thought I’d say that about a pair of Levi’s since I’m such an enthusiast of their brand.

  • zxazxxx .

    nice !!

  • Johnson Benjamin

    It is cool to see some just basic denim featured here. Not everything has to be selvedge.

  • vacations_on

    There is a bit of a mistake in the third set of pics (where the back pocket had already blown out). It’s 20 months, not 12.

    It took about a year and a half for this pair to look all cool and worn out. But they started falling apart quickly afterwards.

  • charlie_chase

    these aint no iron hearts, nonetheless they have some great fades..

  • jon

    Those turned out great! They also have elastic in them which im not sure if it would be harder to fade or not. I have the same pair and I don’t really like them, the fabric just picks up too much lint and hair.

    • Johnson Benjamin

      I do wonder what effect the spandex would have on fading. That may be the cause for the lint and hair problem too.

  • PubliusandFriends

    I picked up a pair of Rigid Sea Dragons in December. I paid $30 (holiday sale).

    The fit is excellent. They whisker and honeycomb nicely, and they are substantially darker than my APCs–even after 1 wash.

    They might be my best-fitting jeans. They seriously make me question the value of higher quality raw denim–other than as a purely luxury item.

    I plan on picking up a pair of Eternals or Pure Blue’s in August. But they might be my last >$50 jean purchase for quite a while.

    • vacations_on

      My pair of Rigid Dragons looked black in the very beginning and it took them more then 6 months to become more like dark navy (I kept not washing them as long as more than a year). Although they turned out great in the end and I really like their washed stone blue kind of color, one shouldn’t expect that pure blue jeans color in these.

      They also were very stiff from the start for a month or two (not as stiff as japanese denim, but still quite impressive for $50 jeans).

  • Referee

    Kids please!

  • swissjeansfreak

    A lot of work put in to these jeans turned this raw denim project in to a unique piece with strong character and great wear patterns.

  • djeep

    Any idea what belt that is?

  • mattdgold

    I wish I could find a jean that fit like a Levi’s 511 but wasn’t a piece of shit (relatively). I even bought a pair of selvedge 511′s from the levi webstore and QC was as bad as ever.