WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY: AM
Unprocessed, untreated, unfaded and unwashed.
It all starts out with a pair of dry (raw) denim and a commitment. Raw denim offers a blank slate for each wearer to carve his or her own life onto, denim in its purest form, with the opportunity of personal customisation as it is your life that determines the ageing characteristics of the jeans you wear. Raw denim is a commitment that takes a long time before you see any rewards, but frankly there is nothing quite like it, a pair of jeans that tells your story, with its unique creases and patterns.
After the creation of raw denim it is left in its pure state, meaning that after the dyeing process it is not washed or chemically treated, thus making it more environmentally friendly. During this dyeing phase, the natural cotton yarn is dipped into several indigo baths where it gradually turns a deep blue, as the indigo dye cannot be completely fixated onto the cotton fibres, the colour will bleed and fade as the denim is worn. Indigo rubs off naturally, exposing the core and making the denim appear lighter, specifically in the creases and areas of high friction. Ultimately there is no right or wrong way to break in denim, washing your denim early is great if you want an even, clear blue tone, a more uniform look, however if want a little more character to your denim, start with a pair of dry jeans, wear them every day, literally live in your jeans, if needed hang your jeans outside in windy weather to get rid of any funky smells and importantly, when it is finally time to wash your well-worn jeans, wash them inside out and hang them up to dry and rejoice in the patterns of your life etched into your denim - like pages in a diary.
Reduce, reuse, repair and recycle.
When choosing your denims we feel it is important to - as with anything else - choose the right supplier, transparency is the key and socially responsible Nudie Jeans are being just that and more - they make sure to go the extra mile with their product and their company, their denim is made from 100% organic cotton, the company is fair trade and pays living rather than minimum wages, with a transparent production. They also promote sustainable consumption by offering free repairs, the idea behind their repair shops is that the jeans can either be repaired, traded in and resold as second-hand or even donated to the Nudie Jeans recycling program. As they also recommend not washing your jeans for at least the first six months, they also promote reducing water consumption. In other words a company that is trying to live by the motto "caring capitalism" in every aspect of its business including by trying to influence their customers as well.
Whilst spending a day at their headquarters - in a repurposed early 20th century bank - I was quite literally overwhelmed by the strong sense of family and friends that still prevails, as well as the constant reminders of their humble beginnings - such as the photographs on the walls which reflect where it all began. True to their ethos of reduce, reuse, repair and recycle most of their furniture is of course second-hand finds, with many chairs and footstools reupholstered with recycled denim - more radically authentic than just cool and trendy. Above all this is a brand quite literally obsessed not only with the quality of the work they produce but the provenance of their work as well - a spirit that spreads far beyond their products and seeps into every aspect of this impressive, forward thinking company.