As part of our ongoing series showcasing affordable versions of high-end fashion items, we bring you a selection of selvedge denim that won’t break the bank.
While everyone loves to ogle at street style galleries showcasing the fashion industry illuminati flexing in impeccable outfits, it can get a bit demoralizing seeing your favorite influencers dressed in beautiful but exorbitantly expensive gear. With that in mind, we continue our Affordable Alternatives series where we hook our fellow Snobs up with tips on where to find razor-sharp yet affordable merchandise.
Woven on traditional shuttle looms, often in Japan, selvedge (or selvage as it’s known to some) is slower and more expensive to make than regular denim and due to the aging machines’ limited capacities, can only be woven in small quantities. The upside of this is a superior fabric which will wear in beautifully with age, developing its own unique character and story – from “whiskers” at the thigh and “honeycombs” at the knee to heavily faded areas on the pockets from keys, wallets and phones. Most commonly presented in its raw form (i.e. unwashed and untreated to allow for an authentic breaking in experience), you can spot selvedge from its signature self-edged seam (hence the name), usually revealed with a turned up cuff.
While a pair of raw selvedge jeans have traditionally cost upward of $200, a new wave of young brands and retailers have adopted a direct-to-customer model, allowing them to cut out the expense of wholesalers and produce great quality denim at an easily affordable price. Here’s five pairs of selvedge jeans that come in at well under $100.
Japanese fast-fashion retailer Uniqlo come through with clean, effortlessly designed affordable basics once again – a raw, slim, straight jean which will look great on the thinner customers who like to keep things traditional. Those with beefier legs fear not, as the brand also offers a regular straight version as well, if the slim straight isn’t to your liking.
Founded by the minds behind Naked & Famous, Unbranded forgoes novelties like branding and marketing, choosing to instead concentrate on making great, low-cost pairs of jeans and spreading the message the old-fashioned way – through word of mouth. Their UB201 jean comes crafted from a hefty 14.5oz Japanese fabric, with a slim, tapered fit that should look good on pretty much anyone. Cop yours here.
One for the patriots out there – Brave Star’s jeans have been crafted from legendary Cone Mills selvedge, assembled in LA and finished with hardware from Kentucky. Their slim taper is a more classic, formal fit – with a high waist and narrow tapered leg – which along with the rest of their cuts, is available in a variety of fabrics, from a light 13.5 oz. all the way up to a leg-busting 16.5 oz. Available here.
Online retail giant ASOS’s in-house label comes through with a ’90s-style washed jean, crafted from a Japanese selvedge fabric and with a very slim cut. While the vintage wash will go with pretty much anything, it will look especially good with neutral tones like beige and grey – an ideal choice for the coming fall months. Get yours here.
Constructed from a lightweight 11.9 oz. Japanese selvedge, Combatant Gentlemen have added a neat section of exposed selvedge trim on their made In USA jeans’ coin pockets and finished their slim fitting denim with blank copper hardware. Shop them here.