My question is, what is selvedge or selvage denim and why are they more expensive than other types of jeans? And what is the difference between these and raw denim?
Selvedge or Selvage denim (the former is the British spelling, the latter the American) is a self-finished denim where the edge
ensures the fabric won’t unravel. It s usually finished in red or orange, the colour of which you can see if the jeans are rolled up – rather than an overlocked finish. Check out a pair of classic Rokotov & Fainberg RF88.1961 and you will see exactly what this means. Selvedge denim is made on a shuttle loom that means the resulting fabric is narrower (typically a yard wide) and is associated with premium quality. Very few factories in the world still use shuttle looms and for a while the Japanese had a near-monopoly thanks to that nation’s fascination with all things immediately post-war American (though the most famous denim mill in history was Cone Mills in Greensboro, North Carolina) – so yes, this denim will be more expensive. While most selvedge denim tends to be raw there is no actual connection between the two terms. Raw simply means the denim has not been pre-washed – which is why if you wear white sneakers with new raw denim jeans you will seen find they have turned blue.
Real denim heads will tend to swear by raw denim (as well as to refuse to wash their jeans) as with wear and tear (rather than with detergent) it develops a unique look that – in their opinion – gets better over the years. You might think the same might not be said for the smell but a true aficionado would say an overnight session in the freezer will sort that problem out. Your jeans that is, not you