Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Day 28 | The moustache wash

Twenty eight days in, and the back of the knees are really creased. It hangs, or rests at night for about 8-9 hours before being worn again, so the daily wear is really taking its toll. There's not a lot of colouration on the the denim yet, because if you flatten the creases, the colour is still all blue black. Look at Day 13 for a comparison so far.

Apparently there's a specific way to wash and treat denim, which I included below, called the moustache wash. It's when you use sandpaper on creases like those on my jeans, and then wash the jeans to give them a more worn effect. Don't really know if it's my kind of style, or if I am just too tired to also now get the sandpaper out and start sanding.

Obviously there are thousands of different ways to treat denim, but Dr.Denim only has nine different washes on their website. We have the final three here today. I'll look into getting others from other manufacturers, including different types of raw denim.

Tint - "The jeans are toned in the wash, often yellow, brown or green to give them a vintage character or a dirty feel."

Sandblasting - "Before being washed, the jeans are sandblasted. This makes them look naturally worn."

Moustache - "Before being washed the jeans are treated with sandpaper, or something similar, to give a worn, creased look to the knees and crotch."

Monday, September 29, 2008

Day 27 | Harris Blue Black Raw so far

Now that it is twenty seven days into the test I've had a real good look at the jeans and have only noticed minor changes to the denim.

As mentioned before, the button holes look a bit more worn. The back hem is more worn, from when I where them at home, barefoot, and let them hang down without folding them up. The crease made by the fold up is more visible when the hem is folded down. The knees are much more stretched in front, and creased a lot behind the knees. Then there are more creases below the pockets where the jeans fold in front, when I sit. Other than that, I have not seen a major colour change. That will take time and a lot more wear. I'll publish some photos of the next couple of days of all the areas I've mentioned. It looks like a bit more rain will fall here over the next couple of days, so it'll be interesting to see how the jeans hold up with all that water. We have two more washes from Dr.Denim for today.

Cellulose Enzyme Wash - "The jeans are washed with enzymes and organic substances that break down the cellulose in the fabric. The result is a washed-out effect."

Acid Wash - "A type of stone wash that was launched in the 1980s. Pumice is soaked in chlorine and washed with the fabric. Also called iced, frosted or snow wash."

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Day 26 | Denim styles and washes

I don't know what you think, but jeans styles have really changed a lot over the years. I have styles in my closet, that I won't dare take out now, because they're so far behind in the fashion trend. But give it a couple of years, and the cycle and "style" would be back, with minor changes of course. I just hope I haven't picked up too much weight to wear them then.

I am originally from South Africa, and where world fashion is concerned, they're about 10 - 15 years behind. Sweden on the other hand is closer to the cutting edge. When things go out of fashion here in Sweden, it's still OK to where them when I go visit back home. You see a lot of skinny and slim jeans on the streets here in Sweden, where boot-cut or flairs are still all the rage in South Africa. Boot-cuts are coming back now though, with what I can see as a much higher waste like we had in the late 80's. Not quite my thing yet, but then again I don't consider myself someone who is at the cutting edge of fashion, I'm a little closer to the edge of comfortable. We have two more washes from Dr.Denim for today.

Heavy Stone Wash - "The jeans are washed with Pumice for anything from 30 minutes to a couple of hours. This removes a lot of dye and makes the jeans look used. The amount of dye left depends on the washing time."

Bleach Wash - "A chemical is added to the wash to bleach the denim. Liquid (hydrochloride soda) and solid (calcium hypochlorite) bleaches may be used. This process softens the fabric's appearance and makes the jeans look used."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Day 25 | Denim and washes

I don't know why I decided to start my day with a run, but I did. It's this training program I'm on that said 6 kilometres today. I must admit that I did feel better afterwards, knowing I did some training today, but running itself, as a sport, is just plain silly. Fortunately Nikeplus.com and my iPod have made it easier for me to track my progress and listen to music on the way. Otherwise the fastest I would go is a brisk walk.

Today I wanted to have a look at different denim washes. I mean you know how many pairs you have in your closet, and none of them are same right? Some have marks on the knees, some on the bum, some on the shins, and so on. None made by yourself. Well maybe if you've had them for a while have you added you share of the marks. I have really started enjoying the raw aspect of my jeans. Every mark on them is from me and they won't ever look like anyone else's. They will just keep on changing as I wear them. Below are two of the washes from Dr.Denim.

Rinse Wash - "Gentle water wash that shrinks the fabric and removes excess dye".

Stone wash - "The jeans are washed along with pumice or ceramic objects. The stones mainly wear along seams and edges. The effect on the fabric will vary depending on the length of the wash".

Friday, September 26, 2008

Day 24 | Lot No R-18

Here's something I am going to have to find out. There's a label on the inside of the jeans that read "Lot No R-18". I understand it probably has to do with the batch these jeans came from, but what is the story behind it? Does anyone know? Does it have to do with the place the denim was made or the place the cotton came from? Why have a label inside the jeans?

The jeans effect from Dr.Denim today is the Short legs effect. Cause: Jeans too long and refusal to alter. Result: Completely ripped bottom hems.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Day 23 | Inside button holes

Here's what the button holes inside look like at the moment. They're still holding up very good, with the jeans being worn every day. The buttons are easy to do up and open again.

I have another pair of jeans, where it's so difficult to do the buttons up, that I stopped wearing them. Not the case here. Although the denim in that area has become really soft, the button holes still work really well.

The jeans effect from Dr.Denim today is the Hero effect. Cause: Voluntary or involuntary act of heroism such as saving someone from a burning building. Result: Third degree burn.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Day 22 | Washing instruction

Here's a photo of the inside labels. It basically gives the washing instructions, which reads, "Wash these jeans inside out at a low temperature, and make sure you use a washing powder that does not contain any bleach. Wash separately and do not tumble dry. These jeans may dry bleed in the beginning and will fade over time. They may shrink 1-5%. 100% Cotton."

It ends off with the five washing care signs, which I do not think a lot of people, including me, know, so I went to go and find out. Here's a very handy website I found: www.care-labelling.co.uk

Sign number one is the picture of the iron with the two dots in, which means to iron with a warm iron. The iron may either have one dot (cool), two dots (warm) or three dots (hot) in it.

Sign number two is the circle with the letter P in it. And I quote, "Must be professionally dry cleaned. The letters contained within the circle and/or a bar beneath the circle will indicate the solvent and the process to be used by the dry cleaner."

Number three is the triangle with the cross through it. Here too, there are three different triangles. The one we have though means "Do not bleach".

Sign four is the washing bucket with 40° written in it. Easy to understand, but Dr.Denim actually recommends washing your jeans in 30°. And we're talking about degrees Celsius in this instance.

And number five is a circle within a square with a cross through the middle. Do not tumble dry.

There you have it. A guide on how to take care of your jeans, by Dr.Denim. After all, according to them "A good pair of jeans is like a member of the family".

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Day 21 | Unagi

Unagi was the first ever Dr.Denim jeans style.

According to the Dr.Denim website, "The name Unagi comes from an episode of Friends in which Ross takes up karate. Unagi also means eel in Japanese. The very first Unagi jeans are in fact still around, though unfortunately they've been washed twice, purely accidentally."

"However, there's no doubt about their great feel. The wear is perfect, the fabric is comfortable and the design is timeless."

Don't you just love it when a company talks that way about their products? Totally in love with what they do, and totally dedicated to bring you a quality product, made with love and the best material out there. Really glad I purchased mine.

Today's jeans effect from Dr.Denim is the Nervous effect. Cause: Rubbing hands on lap when feeling stressed or uncomfortable. Result: Even wear on both thighs.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Day 20 | Price tags

The question is always how much are you willing to pay for your jeans. I mean, they can range from really expensive top of the line fashion labels to a regular pair from H&M. I'm not one for paying too much, but do want quality denim.

That's why I'm glad I stumbled across Dr.Denim on my trip into Red Devil. The pair on trial here was priced at 499kr (Swedish Kronor) the equivalent currency of $77 / €52 / £42. Really not that expensive for the quality of denim, which looks like they'll really last a long time. I always try and find a style and cut that suits me, and a denim that feels really good on. To do that you need to shop around a bit, and not just go to the top end stores, thinking you'll end up with the best buy.

Today's jeans effect from Dr.Denim is the Snuff effect. Cause: Nicotine addiction in particular and bad health in general. Result: Circular wear on left or right back pocket.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Day 19 | Keeping fresh

I've been trying to find out more on how to keep my jeans fresh for longer, without having to wash them. I mean the goal is to wear the jeans for six months without having to wash them, because the raw denim needs good wear first, before it shrinks with the first wash. According toDr.Denim you need to rest your jeans in a plastic bag in the freezer every now and then. This, I've heard, does work to keep the jeansfresh", but not long term.

According to howstuffwork.com: "You are constantly sweating, even though you may not notice it. There are two kinds of sweat glands all over your body -- eccrine and apocrine. The sweat from apocrine glands contains proteins and fatty acids, which make it thick and give it a milky or yellowish colour. This is why underarm stains in clothing appear yellowish. It turns out that sweat itself has no odour. Then why, you may ask, is a sweaty person so smelly? When the bacteria on your skin and hair metabolize the proteins and fatty acids, they produce an unpleasant odour."

That's why I think, it's important to let your jeans get as much "air" as possible when you're not wearing them. The sweat in the denim needs to dry properly every day, otherwise the smell will start. When your jeans have started to become smelly and you're forced to "freeze" them overnight, the sub zero (Celsius) temperatures will not kill the bacteria, but cause them to hibernate. The bacteria will hibernate for some time after you've taken your jeans from the freezer. This "time" allows you to get your jeans dry again, so that when the bacteria "wakes up" from their hibernation, they have nothing to do and the smell should be gone, for a little while longer.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Day 18 | Dry cleaning

According to Dr.Denim, when you reach the point of no return, and you absolutely have to clean your jeans, start off with a gentle dry clean. To me that also means to use your nails and a brush to get some marks out. But be careful not to scratch too hard and make permanent marks on the denim.

I've had 2 marks that I cleaned off this way today. Works well, and means I don't have to yet get my jeans wet. This way of cleaning seems as important as airing the jeans, when you're not in them. I show here how I hang mine up at night, and open them up to get some air. It's a good way to prevent them from becoming too smelly.

Today's effect from Dr.Denim is the turn-up effect. The cause: Constant use of big turn-ups. The result: Horizontal rips on both legs.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Day 17 | More button holes

I've taken 5 of the jeans that I own, with different styles, cuts and denim, to show how different companies stitch button holes.

A - This it Dr.DenimJeans. The denim is raw and the cut is between slim and straight. The button stitch looks very roughly done, and as I've mentioned before, it looks like the first place that will show wear. Also yellow thread shows the wear easier on the darker denim.

B - H&M Sliq. A cut that suits me very well, because I am 1,92cm tall. The denim feels raw, but it looks like it's been treated and coloured again after it's been washed. The button hole stitch is done with very thin cotton thread, unlike the others, but looks very neat.

C - Puma/Evisu Worn In. These have been my favourite pair of jeans for the last 3 years. I also own the same style but in unwashed/stif denim. The cut is straight and is by far the most comfortable jeans I've owned. The button stitch still looks new, after 3 years of regular wear and was done with a lighter blue thread.

D - H&M Sliq. Another pair, but with a different denim. Looks a bit raw, but has been washed and is a good, every now and then, pair of jeans. The button hole is very neat and tidy and done with yellow thread.

E - TBY (To be young). A pair of flair jeans I have, that have been treated and washed. A really comfortable pair, but flair seems to only now make a comeback here in Sweden, where "skinny" and "slim" are still very much the dominant style. The button hole is very hard to see, so if it starts to wear, it will be very hard to tell.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Day 16 | Tags

I love clothing tags or swing tags as they are more commonly known. All clothing have them attached when you make a purchase. As a designer myself, I always like to see how other designers solve the problem of having to design another swing tag that looks different from the rest and stands out in a crowd.

Dr.Denim have really simple, but striking, and very effective tags, that are mostly black with white writing. It has a lot of writing on one side in white on black. The one tag that I show on the left is the size tag. It's helpful with the big letters when you're going through a pile of jeans to find your size. My size is 32 waste, with a 34 leg.

I have also added a swing tag from Puma. It shows an interesting statistic, which says that only 4% of people regularly read these things. 96% of people do something more important. I'm not sure if the 4% is true or not, but it surely begs for an interesting question. When last have you read the tags on your clothing? And if your answer is like mine, not often, then why do companies spend so much money, designing them?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Day 15 | Harris Blue Black Raw

Harris Blue Black Raw is an unwashed denim. Never touched or even seen water.

Here's Dr.Denim's view on the look and especially feel of their jeans. "Dr. Denim deliberately chooses how the denim is treated, or not treated. We see washes as part of the design that's just as important as fit. And we leave nothing to chance - except, perhaps a few things. We planned the feeling you get when you touch the fabric. We know how the fabric will feel the first time you wear the jeans, and we know how it will feel after a year. But what the jeans will look like, where they are worn thin and how distressed they will be, that is your responsibility. Your personality and your cares will be evident when your Dr.Denim jeans have become a part of you."

"Many factors combine to create the Dr.Denim feel. Fibre length. Composition (adding hemp and cotton to create rawness, polyester for softness and elastane for stretch). Spinning techniques. Fabric construction. Density. And Surface treatment."

So let me tell you that these jeans I have on, feel fantastic. It's been 2 weeks now, and I still like what they feel like when I put them on. The material has a real raw edge to them that feels like they will be with me for a life time. But time will tell.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Day 14 | Blue shoes

Here's a photo of one of the tags from the jeans. It says, "These jeans have never seen water: Therefore, they may dry-bleed in the beginning, so be careful with any light surfaces. They may shrink 1-5%. The longer you wear these jeans without washing them, the more beautiful they will get. When you finally wash them, turn them inside out. Avoid tumble dryers and detergents containing bleach."

So there you have it, from the horses mouth. I added two photos to the left. One of my white Converse, and another of a pay slip I had in my back pocket. There's a lot of blue still running off everyday. It gets worse when it rains, but is all good. It gets my jeans looking like only mine could. Just be careful when you're sitting on your white sofa.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Day 13 | Two beers

Don't know how, but I slept way to late and woke up not knowing where I was. It's such a weird feeling when that happens. I figured I'd do some exercises to get me going again.

After work I met a new friend for two beers at a very nice restaurant in town called SoHo. He's a salesman for Poolia, the recruiting company who will hopefully find me some consulting work here in Gothenburg. Really good to get networking again in a new city with new people and a new language.

This morning I had a look at the jeans all over, for some sign of a wear. I did find a little on the bottom hem. Not a lot, but just enough to make me feel as if this experiment is actually going to show some results soon. Also there are now semi-permanent lines behind the knees from bending them.

Dr.Denim Jeansmakers have a whole section on their website (page 62) discussing wear and tear, which I'll bring through onto this blog every now and then. Today we have the Cookie effect. The cause: Addiction to cookies, cakes and more. The result: Serious wear on the inner thighs.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Day 12 | Cowboys

According to Dr.Denim Jeansmakers, it used to be that the responsibility for fit lay more with the user than with the manufacturer. Cowboys had an effective, if a bit tricky, way of giving their jeans the right touch. They simply jumped in the lake wearing their jeans and let them dry on their bodies. The shrinkage meant the trousers fit as if they'd been painted on. History recommends that you bathe in your jeans as soon as you've bought them, but nowadays you don't need to get wet to get a great fit.

So with that, and the latest trends of not getting your new jeans close to detergents or washing machines for the first six months, I see the knees on my new jeans getting baggier and baggier every day as they stretch with my daily movements. The area just underneath the pockets, already have semi-permanent folds from sitting.

I have not seen any major colour changes yet, except for on my white shoes, which now have blue marks on them from the denim and the rain last week.