Denim Contests – All About The Fades


I struggled to know where to put this piece, it is related to the upcoming Denim World Championships but I feel that the comment deserves to be more broad. Also, I don’t want anyone to think that I am trying to unduly influence any way that the contest will be judged, this is solely about my personal opinion, I am not a judge in any contest.

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A point which has often been lost in the HWDC contests, and one in which I truly believe, is that the art of winning a denim contest should not come down to who can destroy their jeans first. Over the last couple of contests there has been a clamour of early excitement for jeans which have been shredded by their wearers everyday lives, which is great, honest and definitely within the spirit of the contest and the purpose of the garment but honestly it’s just not my taste.


Personally I prefer something a little more subtle, the various hues of blue, the definition of roping rather than pure white denim with gaping holes and large oil stains. I don’t want to give the impression that I’m against any type of faded aesthetic on the whole, I’m not, I would just like to see a little love for jeans with a little more understated wear. The variation of lifestyles of competitors shows in the wear of our jeans, and if an office worker, a retail worker or someone who doesn’t enjoy a raft of outdoors or handy craft hobbies is ever going to stand a chance in a denim contest then there needs to be a little more appreciation for the delicate and the low key, rather than just the blatant and excessive.

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I have personally always enjoyed the discreet details of my own jeans through wear, my favourite stage of wear being a few months in when the electric blue starts coming through the top weave en masse. I love to see roping develop on a hem, a partially faded belt loop, the way that the denim fades more above my right pocket through me getting to my keys and loose change every day, these are the important things to me which are sadly (in my opinion) overlooked by many. To use a movie analogy, some people love the Transformers movies as they are big, loud and take little thought to appreciate or digest, I would prefer to watch The Big Lebowski because each time I watch it I spot a small detail that I have never noticed before.

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I have a quiet fear that sometimes people lose heart in a denim contest when they see the epic high contrast combs achieved by some in a relatively short space of time, perhaps feeling that they won’t be able to achieve anything close to that so what is the point in continuing. I would like to see that corrected in some way, it crossed my mind that for the DWC we should have forgotten about the weight classes and instead allowed people to separate themselves by lifestyle or activity level, or some other way for the more relaxed wearer to have their day in the sun. Maybe that’s going to be something for future, for now I’ll keep championing the cause of subtlety over shock and awe.


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