Getting the right fade on your jeans all depends on the kind of denim you’ve got. For raw denim jeans, meaning the fabric has not been washed since it was made, wear it without washing as long as you possibly can. The hue from the dye, applied to the raw denim, will fade differently from one wearer to another. Fading will be as personal to you as the shape of your legs and rear, your manner of walking or sitting, and the shape of things you usually stuff inside your pockets.
Washing Denim Jeans
When you wash your denim jeans too early, the dye will run over the material evenly and deprive your jeans of the unique character that personalized fading will lend the pair in due time. You have to be patient, and wait until the desired creases and marks have set in. For some authentic fade fanatics, waiting long enough means six long months before denim and water meet for the first time. To combat the odour, put jeans inside the freezer for a few hours.
Paul Anderson’s Tips
Hiut Denim’s Paul Anderson says that the 6-month period before the first wash is standard. He rinses his jeans in cold water for 20 minutes and hangs them outside, instead of spin-drying. Raw denim becomes more rigid and tauter without washing, and may cause irritation to the legs and inner thighs. Choose something that’s lighter: a pair that weighs around 12-oz will be less harsh than a 32-oz pair.
Distressed Denim Jeans
To do away with all the trouble, distressed jeans can be bought from most stores. Distressed jeans are denim jeans that were synthetically or mechanically faded to look like they aged, but the natural look is difficult to replicate. This is not acceptable to most denim buffs, however. For this reason, Hiut came up with an alternative concept: raw denim that has been worn for six months (the breaking in period), before they were professionally washed. These are available at Hiut’s Breakers Club.
Imagine having people wear your denims first before you do. It’s amazing what extents people go to just to get their raw denim jeans properly faded.