Women’s raw denim is underdeveloped as an industry and underexposed as a market. In general, raw denim is still largely associated with traditional workwear pieces like five-pocket trousers (jeans), overalls, overshirts, and outerwear – all functional garments designed with little regard for the female body.
Brands have been slow to think outside of the box and produce raw denim pieces that cater to the wide range of body types that comprise the female market. This challenge was only sidestepped with the advent and subsequent popularity of stretch denim.
It’s not that raw denim for women is new – Levi’s made the first known pair in 1934. It’s as if women’s denim and raw denim were incompatible due in part to both principle and circumstance. But times have changed, and the demand for women’s raw denim continues to grow. And in the last few years that growth has led to an emerging market in need of innovation.
There are a handful of brands taking the lead on producing raw denim options for women. Labels like Nudie, A.P.C, Imogene+Willie and Tellason (all available at dutil. in-store and online) have shown a commitment to producing pieces specifically designed with women in mind.
We recently reached out to some of our female friends breaking in raw jeans. We wanted to get their thoughts on anything from the wear process, to the fit and feel of their chosen jeans – scroll through the image carousel to discover which denim they’re sporting and why they’ve become essentials in their closets.
They feel like a second skin and get even better with age.
-Kaitlyn Till on Naked and Famous’ The Straight
When you read the quotes above, it’s obvious how gratifying the process of breaking in raw denim is. From watching the development of wear patterns, to feeling the increasing comfort of the garment, this a joy that can be shared by all.
- The word “denim” is derived from the French town, “de Nîmes”, where the twill-woven fabric is said to have originally been created.
- Raw denim (also known as “dry denim”) is denim that hasn’t been washed after the dyeing process
- Raw denim does not need to be 100% Cotton, it can be blended with materials such as lycra and polyester
- Between the late 1800’s and mid-1900’s, raw denim was primarily used to produce workwear for American miners and trade workers
- First raw denim jeans for women made by Levi’s in 1934
- Stretch denim has been the norm in women’s jeans since the 1970s
Featured photograph by Brooke Cagle