GUSTIN Loomstate Denim – Review

GUSTIN made a pretty big splash a couple years back when they introduced their platform of crowdsourcing and selling selvedge denim at wholesale prices. Needless to say, their Kickstarter campaign was a huge success as they raised nearly $500,000.

Since then, a lot of brands have popped up on Kickstarter with the same idea of “quality selvedge for less” which has sparked a ton of debate on what these products really live up to their claims.

Admittedly, I was initially a little skeptical on the final results, so when we came across the opportunity to take a look at their recently released Loomstate (i.e. unsanforized) jean, I was excited to road test the jean and see how they wear. After about 3 weeks of wear, here are my thoughts:

Denim

GUSTIN‘s idea is simple: offer different types of fabrics they think would make great jeans, set a target number of how many people need to pledge before making it, and once that number is reached, they make the jean.

The fabric for this particular jean is a Japanese pink lined selvedge loom state denim that starts at 13.5 oz and increases in weight to about 14.5 oz. after the first soak. Loomstate refers to the fabric not going through any kind of treatment after it’s woven. The details about where the fabric comes from is unavailable but based on what we’ve seen, the best guess would be that it is from Kuroki or Nihon Menpu.

The denim is rather slubby and irregular with some areas being much rougher than other areas and being that it is loom state, the hairs on the denim have not been singed off which adds another element to the hand. After a couple weeks of wear, I was already beginning to see some of the edges and back pockets give way to some brighter blues. Thus, it’s safe to say that the fabric will result in some high contrast fading and wear patterns.

As for the overall color, the denim is a deeper shade of blue that can almost look grayish due to the hairs and weft yarns popping out. As expected, the denim was pretty stiff and rough to the touch in the beginning but after about 2 weeks of wear, it softened up considerably and was a lot more comfortable but it still retained that rough uneven quality that gives it a lot of character.

Hardware and Other Materials

As for the hardware, the metal buttons and rivets are all custom made and branded that are standard on all GUSTIN jeans. The leather patch on my particular sample was still the thin brown patch but the founders have stated that their production model would feature a heavy natural hand stamped leather patch.

Overall, everything used to make the jean are good quality and solid, but the one gripe I have is with the pocket bags and back pocket lining. Both are made from a lightweight cotton fabric may not last very long if you’re like me and tend to carry a fair amount in your pockets. This may be one of the first things that need repairing after a few months of wear.

Fit

GUSTIN offers two basic fits: a straight and a slim. For this particular pair, I received a size 31 in their slim straight cut which shrunk down to roughly a size 29. Their slim cut is described as a modern slim with a slight taper. From the different samples I tried, the slim cut has a roomier top block than most other slim cut jeans and tapers a fair amount from the knee.

One important thing to note, especially for those who have had previous pairs of GUSTIN jeans, is that while the pattern for this model is the same for their other jeans, the jean has a different fit after the initial soak due to the shrinking. When I compare this jean to one of their sanforized alternatives, I found that the Loomstate jean fits a bit slimmer overall than their regular slims jeans in the same size.

However after a week of wear, the waist, thighs and especially knees stretched a fair amount – 0.25″ in the waist, 0.5″ in the tight and knee – which made it closer in fit but with a shorter rise and slimmer thigh.

Construction

GUSTIN uses a well respected factory in the San Francisco/Bay Area where they are known for producing high quality garments. The Loomstate is a great example of their work. The belt loops are tucked into the waistband, the stitching is clean and line up well, and the felled seam on the inseam gives the entire jean a streamlined look.

Throughout the jean, there are small details like selvedge ID lines showing on the inside fly, red chain stitching, and lined back pockets. There weren’t any loose stitches, offset buttons or loose seams and after looking through the jean over the last few weeks, it seems that the jean is made as well as many others on the market.

Overall Thoughts

GUSTIN Loomstate

At the price points, GUSTIN denim offers jeans that rival many higher priced jeans in the market. The construction and details are well done and should please those who buy their jeans. They smartly fill a niche in the denim market that gives the customer the option of buying the same fit of jeans in a pretty wide variety of fabrics.

However, offering this large number of options at this lower price has its disadvantages. While brands like 3sixteen and Tellason work with fabrics custom made for them and have a very detailed knowledge of how their products change and wear over time, GUSTIN‘s model puts them in a different position. They only have a limited knowledge of the fabrics that they carry simply because they don’t have the time to work with the fabric and road test it before releasing it as product. The result of this can be jeans that fit differently due to the varying characteristics of each fabric and because of the crowdsourcing model, there is little to no inventory to allow for exchanges for some jeans if you need a different size or cut.

Furthermore, the claims that their jeans are the same as jeans sold at $205+ is true if you’re simply looking at jeans as just fabric cut and sewn in America. However, there are the less tangible qualities behind the jean such as the R&D that goes into fabrics, patterns, acquiring/maintaining machines and a certain high level of expertise that other brands possess. As well, there is the benefit of more immediate availability that comes with carrying inventory (currently you’d have to wait at least several weeks before receiving your pair of GUSTIN jeans) that factor into a price point.

All in all, GUSTIN offers a quality pair of jeans at prices that won’t break the bank. While they may not satisfy the more discerning denim head who’s interests go beyond just having a good pair of selvedge jean, their line is a very suitable for the majority of people. The variety of fabrics is a huge plus especially if you like to switch it up, as long as you’re willing to accept the lead time.

To learn more about GUSTIN and their products, visit their website.

Young Lee

Young Lee

Young is a self proclaimed taco and denim enthusiast who plays in the San Francisco bands, The Soonest , and Theres Talk. He regularly posts pictures relating to denim and menswear on Tumblr, Liverpool and Main and Instagram, Young of The Soonest.

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook - YouTube

Previous Post
Next Post
  • mister56

    Very thorough article. I loved it.

  • Unnmd

    Pink Selvedge line could be Kaihara as well

  • David

    Very well thought out. Great review, Young.

    • Young

      thanks!

  • James

    A very enjoyable read. Contemplating a pair now.

    • Zakk

      This denim has been sold out for a while now unfortunately, no word on if they plan to run more loomstate offerings.

  • Kyle

    Good write-up, these sound like a great choice for beginners looking to get into unsanforized denim, and should age nicely over time.

  • Jim

    Didn’t understand the article at all. In other words they say that this is not as good as higher priced raw jeans but don’t explain exactly WHY, just marginally mentioning things like R&D. But objectively where is the quality of these jeans lacking?

    • Young

      not sure where the confusion is and why you didnt understand it but i’ll clarify:

      I never said that they’re not as good as higher priced jeans. in fact the first sentence of the overall thoughts section says “At the price points, GUSTIN denim offers jeans that rival many higher priced jeans in the market. The construction and details are well done and should please those who buy their jeans. ”

      After that I was merely stating that there are some disadvantages to the model like not being able to exchange for different sizes a lot of times, and also the company not having a lot of knowledge of what fabrics will be like over time which is something that other companies who develop and have their own fabrics do have. The parts talking about R&D, carrying inventory, owning/maintaining machines was further illustrating that there are other factors that go into a price of a jean. Gustin has streamlined things so that a lot of costs are cut out which allow them to do what they do but it’s not without its drawbacks. whether that matters to you or not just depends what is important to you as a consumer.

      at the end of it, i’m just saying that people who have a more keen eye for the smaller details in how the jean is constructed, the fabric characteristics, the kinds of threads used, the different types of hardware they use, etc may not be too interested in what GUSTIN is doing because their interests go beyond just having a jean made from selvedge denim but if that doesnt describe you, then by all means, GUSTIN may be a brand you’ll want to look at.

      • Jim

        That’s exactly the difference I would love to see, what’s the difference in fabric, threads there exactly? It would be interesting to see a pragmatic approach to this. I understand that most likely GUSTIN doesn’t use union machines to chainstitch for example, but I would like to see what other differences like this are. Or for example you state that the stitching on the seams is very clean and precise. I wonder how that compares to say Iron Heart seams, is it a different kind of stitch, is it less precise or something?

        Other factors are understandable, but I am only interested in the jeans quality overall in this case. I believe that Japanese brands try to conform to “form follows function”, so those details make jeans better-quality and/or last longer.

        Also, my first phrase about understanding the article is misleading and wrong, sorry for that. I meant I didn’t fully understand how GUSTIN compare to other brands, the article itself describes these jeans pretty good.

        • Young

          differences are going to vary widely depending on what brand you compare to. with iron heart for instance, their approach is pretty different from other brands. they’re focused specifically on making everyday clothing that motorcyclists would use and find comfortable and will last a long time. hence the heavy denim which is exclusive to them and the weight and thickness of the denim requires a difference approach in terms of how to stitch together the denim. iron heart uses a poly thread as well which gives the jean better longevity.

          some other brands have specific fabrics that they’ve developed themselves and have made for them like 3sixteen who’s fabric is made specifically for them by kuroki. other higher end brands like momotaro and RJB use fabrics made from zimbabwe long staple cotton which is not a fabric you can just pick up from any mill or from jobbers. since you have some interest in stitching and threads, there are brands like Jack Knife, Stevenson, and WH Ranch who use only single stitching throughout the jean and use a very high stitch count. Then you have brands like Roy who uses pima cotton thread as well as a high stitch count in his jeans. if you look closely at the stitching for many higher end jeans, you can see techniques used that aren’t easy to master.

          there are also other qualities like the kinds of rivets they use (strike gold uses an iron male rivet and a copper female rivet), how the back pockets are secured onto the jean (hidden rivets vs bartack), structural designs (railcar uses a double waist band that helps minimize stretch), and aesthetic designs like embroidery. i could go on forever but i hope you get the idea that this discussion is a rather lengthy one. i’d recommend going through specific threads on forums like superfuture or style forum to learn more about what brands do, what sets them apart, techniques, etc.

  • Richalicious

    I’ve backed two pairs of Gustins – Slate and American sixteeners. Sixteeners due to ship in Feb so looking forward to that and actually wearing the Slates just now :) Great so far and the customer servise is second to none.
    As some of the comments mention these are a great starter for anybody into the world of selvedge although the wait may put some people off, i’d rather wait and save a few quid as realistically i wouldn’t spend £200+ on anything other than a coat / jacket

    Go team Gustin ! Looking forward to what they release in 2014

  • mlech415

    Just got these loomstates in the mail! GUSTIN makes a gorgeous jean, I’m in love with the fabric

  • goldushapple

    Mr. Lee, what shoes are you wearing? They look awesome paired with the Gustin jeans.

    • Young

      viberg service boots

      • goldushapple

        Thanks!

  • Curtis

    Young, this is in a similar vein to Jim’s question, as I think his comment/question was right on the mark.

    Why, SPECIFICALLY, may they not “satisfy the discerning denim head?”

    I have been wearing “high end ” japanese denim almost exclusively (mainly TFH, Momo, SAMs) with a bit of Roy mixed in for a while now. I am a huge fan of those companies…TFH 3009 is essentially the best overall jean ever!

    I did get a pair of the Gustin’s and am personally more than satisfied, having compared it neurotically with my other jeans.

    • Young

      my comment was more about the company in general where the goal seems to be to pump out a large number of jeans in a very wide range of fabrics which can lead to the perception that Gustin is trying to be a jack of all trades but is not necessarily a master at their craft. what i meant about discerning denim head is not pointing at simply people who wear exclusively high end japanese denim because people wear the brands for different reasons. it’s directed more towards those who go a step further to pay attention to every detail on a jean and appreciate even the smallest seemingly insignificant parts of the jean.

      for instance, you bring up Roy. The details put into each of his garments are some of the most intricate and interesting things i’ve seen in any kind of clothing. for instance, on the CB-1, he uses pima cotton thread so he can have the strength of poly core thread and be able to use a very high stitch count without some of the issues he has when he does that with poly core thread. also the cinch back design, while may not be aesthetically something most people want, is done is that it sits flush with the jean so you can use it and not have excess fabric sticking out from the jean. there’s also the unsanforized pocket bags that change with the rest of the jean, copper plated rivets, tin plated rivets, scallop stitching, etc. i’ll stop before i go full fanboy.

      you also bring up flat head’s 3009. i agree with you that it’s a great jean. for me, flat head nails it with the fit and fabric on the jean. they’ve developed this fabric so they know how that fabric is going to age, fade, change with time. the fit is spot on and maintains the great fit even with a lot of wear. then there’s smaller details like the the copper brand rivets and the iron hidden rivets as well as the nice bump on the hem of the back pockets that will wear down a little quicker than the rest of the pocket so you get a little more interesting fading. i actually find that you can REALLY see their expertise in creating fabrics and clothing if you look at their shirts. The different ways they weave fabrics, dye them, the patterns they come up with, etc is pretty awesome.

      maybe i spend too much time looking and researching at this stuff but that’s what i had in mind when referencing discerning denim heads who i feel like are those people who really care about these small details like that.

      again, i think Gustin has made a solid product from what i’ve seen. There are some elements i feel like are lacking BUT for the price points they’re at, maybe it doesn’t warrant that level of details. There’s nothing wrong with making a solid jean at a good price. Personally I just don’t think someone who is super into the fine details of a jean is going to get excited when looking at a pair of Gustins much like that same person may not get that excited when they pick up some other brands on the market. But some may and some may not.

      if you are more than satisfied with your jeans, then that’s great for you. in the end, that’s all that really matters.

  • ss

    Got my order after 3 months – awful fit and material – does not have a return policy in website – any adverse comments in website or Facebook immediately deleted – asked me to ship back all the way to US from my location and then if s and buts i might get store credit – to buy another equally misfit highly priced trouser?