Over the last 12 months my thoughts and focus on my personal gear has changed somewhat, I read many people on social media commenting about provenance about where things are made and why and for many reasons, some of them ethical some of them commercial. This, along with my advancing years and diminishing bank account, forced me to shift my focus away from simply looking to buy the latest shiny thing which took my fancy into actually looking to acquire gear that works and lasts for as long as possible, a lifetime if possible. I love the idea that the things I buy today to wear and use may some day be of use to my son and possibly even his son (I’m getting ahead of myself, my son is currently only 8 years old).
Where my focus lies today is to step out of the habit of buying 20 or 30 items of clothing and accessories every year to simply placate my ego and fill my wardrobe, in exactly the same way as I stepped away from high street fashion 10 years ago. What I shall do from this day forward is compile a list of essential items that a man needs to rely on through his life, clothing accessories and just “things”, I will look at my existing gear and decide if it is indeed something that will stay with me through my life journey, and possibly even outlast me (if it is then it will stay, if it is not then it will go), and finally I will look to acquire the missing pieces on my list by selling, saving and bargain hunting and I will document it all here.
This is where I begin my hunt for true First World Artefacts !
Sanforized Denim – This is denim which has gone through a process designed to remove all the shrinking potential from the material. When you wash sanforized denim it will stay the same size as before it was washed.
One wash denim – This is denim which has been washed in water only to remove most of the shrink from the material. This denim may still shrink slightly further if it is hot washed in a machine. Expect between 0.5” 1” of contraction in the waist and inseam with minimal to no movement in other dimensions.
Raw Denim (Kibata) – This is unwashed/ untreated denim, also known as loom state. This denim is in its factory produced state and will shrink when soaked or washed, most raw denims will shrink 1 – 2” in the waist and inseam, and up to 0.5” in other dimensions. It is worth noting that even if your denim shrinks past where is comfortable in the waist that it will stretch up to 1” with wear as it is a natural fabric.
Weight – The weight is measured in ounces per unwashed yard of material. Unwashed denim will become heavier after washing due to the contraction of the threads; this also leads to the shrinkage of raw denim.
Chain stitch – This type of stitch is performed by vintage sewing machines such as the famed “Union Special” or equivalent.
Chain Stitch run off – This is the thread which is left behind by vintage sewing machines. Some manufacturers cut it off, some do not. It can be safely clipped without the seam coming undone.
Selvedge – This term is derived from “Self Edge”, being the closed end on a role of fabric, this end was most often used to create the selvedge out seam on vintage jeans. Most vintage jeans were made using selvedge denim and so are most high quality jeans today. It should be noted that the use of selvedge denim and the presence of a selvedge out seam should not be seen as a stamp of quality, just as its absence should not be seen as low quality.
Slubs – A slub is a general term for the uneven patches and runs in denim and is also known as “loom chatter”. It is generally an indicator of the use of vintage looms to make the denim as they ran with much more freedom and at a much lower tension than most modern looms. Most denim enthusiasts see a rough “slubby” texture as a mark of quality, authenticity and character as it is difficult to reproduce in a modern factory.
Welcome to DenimHQ the headquarters of high quality denim and workwear. I am Gavin Smith, also know as Megatron1505, I am the manager of the Heavyweight Denim Championships, the brand manager at http://www.nokipple.com and have spent a fair amount of time travelling the world and working with various well known brands and retailers.
The DenimHQ is where I will talk about my experiences of all things both denim and work wear related from a very personal point of view. When writing the blog I will be writing as a both a fan and consumer of quality clothing and accessories and not in any other capacity. I also have an ongoing theme through some of the pieces I write in my quest for items I like to refer to as First World Artefacts, these are the personal grails, the best of the best, the things that you buy and keep for life and will only ever replace with exactly the same.
I hope you will like what you see and read here, and please feel free to contact me through NoKipple, Superfuture, the HWDC or the Iron Heart forum if there is anything you would like to know or ask.