The DWC is a mere three months away and still there is much debate about what kind of jeans people will be rocking for the worlds greatest denim competition. This seems like a good opportunity to think about what kind of jeans best suit a two year contest, and what factors can affect that choice so that you can start narrowing the field when choosing your jeans.
Weight, does it matter?
The previous contest have been solely based around heavy denim, the new contest welcomes any weight of denim. The weight of your denim will more than likely not have a huge effect on how your jeans wear and fade unless you live in a very hot climate when the additional thickness of the material will cause it to hold much more sweat and dirt, and therefore increase friction and the rate at which indigo is lost from the denim.
Having said that, if the weight is achieved through weaving more strands tightly (such as the case of the Self Edge x Iron Heart 23oz collaboration denim), then you will more than likely find that the denim will fade quite easily, and with much higher contrast. Looser woven denim, even heavy denim, tends to fade in a more vintage manner, being slower and with a more even contrast tone than the much coveted sharp lightning bolts on the lap and the reverse of the knees.
Weave, consider your comfort !
The weave of a denim has an enormous bearing on comfort, tighter weaves inevitably produce a denim which is less breathable and could be quite uncomfortable in warmer climates. It is also worth thinking about if you are planning on using a raw denim, as if you do not get the majority of the shrinkage out straight away then you could find that future washes lead to further constriction of the denim, making it far less breathable than you may initially have thought.
Certainly for warmer climates in Asia or the Southern United States you may wish to consider something with a low tension, loose, slubby and inconsistent weave pattern. Brands such as Trophy Clothing, Oni and Pure Blue Japan have many offerings which fit this bill in various weights and cuts.
More than a feeling…
Talking about the weave of denim brings us nicely into tactile contact with your two year project, as it is directly linked to the weave of the denim. Tightly woven denim tends to have a smoother surface texture, perhaps even with a slight sheen, I have found that smoother textured, tightly woven denim will begin to surrender its colour much easier but may require more washing through the 24 months (for hygiene reasons) than rougher loose woven denim. The trade being that denim which is heavily textured will probably prove to be a much more stubborn fading project, and you might find it a little tougher to force high contrast, sharp fades from a rough denim, as the texture tends to favour a vintage wear pattern. This is the appeal to the majority of people who favour this type of denim, and the authenticity it provides.
Making the cut…
In my opinion the single most important factor in how your denim wears and fades is down to how it fits you. A well fitted denim will always fade quicker and with more contrast than a looser fitting denim, simply because the material will be stretched and flexed more, and see more wear at the points of high friction (lap, back of knees etc…). A cut which is too fitted however can suffer from premature wear, and require a lot of maintenance and repair in a two year period due poor fit and excessive wear, striking the sweet spot on fit is super important for your comfort and the durability and wear of the jeans.
Some weights, weaves, cuts fits and even colours simply will not work with your lifestyle, if you are super active then a tight, restrictive cut is not going to be much good to you, if you live in one of the hottest places in the world then maybe 25oz isn’t the way to go….you get the picture. Some workers in the more relaxed office environment may be able to get away with smart jeans, but your jeans won’t stay smart for two years, and if they did then you would probably be pretty disappointed. Over a contest of this length the most important factors are comfort, and not to get bored with your jeans, so find something that fits you well and that you love is the best advice you will ever get on choosing contest denim.
It’s so tempting when you sign up for a contest like the DWC to take one of two paths, either to pick something really different to what you would normally choose in terms of denim and cut, or to go safe and pick a pair that you know you will like as you have had them before, both of these ways have their pitfalls. There is a reason you haven’t chosen a skin tight cut in wild, neppy denim before…..because it would probably look like crap on you, that isn’t to say that you shouldn’t move outside the box with your choices, but there is a difference between out of the box and out of your comfort zone.
Boredom is an issue with keeping any item of clothing in regular wear for 2 years, so choose something that you feel will age well and look good with your current wardrobe and style as this will keep your interest peaked. The temptation to go for a “gimmick” denim is always strong, but the ones at the top of the tree are there for a reason, and it isn’t because they were woven with 35% mountain lion pubic hair.
So there you have it, some food for thought from someone who is pretty familiar with the 24 month denim contest. I am genuinely excited to see all the various cuts and denims in this new contest, seeing how they are and progress and seeing the inevitable development of the stars of the DWC. Choose your weapon and let’s see it.