The Naked Truth About Denim

Nudie Jeans not only guarantee a great pair of legs, but they also strive to be as environmentally conscious as they are fashion conscious.
Story Jon Yurechko

What has its own bible, commanding not washing it for six months, costs about $300.00 and are blue all over? Why they are Nudie Jeans Co. of course, a Swedish company that uses Japanese selvedge denim. They claim to have uncovered the “naked truth about denim” and strive to be as socially conscious as they are fashion conscious.

The key is their use of Japanese selvedge denim, which is a heavyweight dark, dry and rigid feeling. Nudies are made of cotton picked from farms where no pesticides are used; its less harmful to the workers and to the environment as pesticides sprayed on cotton farms poisons local groundwater. The end result: untreated and unwashed jeans—a welcome departure from distressed, faux-dirty, and whiskered denims of seasons past.

Unlike cheaper stretch denim, selvedge denim is woven on a special loom that uses a single thread woven throughout the entire bolt of fabric, leaving the selvedge end of the fabric on the side seam of the jeans. The end result? They do not fray and they last a long time—over 10 years in some cases—and do not lose their shape.

Taking Care Of These Expensive Jeans

This high-end line has gone on to create an intense subculture for its devoted jeans lovers, spurning websites like www.mynudies.com: a forum for devotees to gather and gush over their gorgeous leg wear. Nudie has published The Nudie Jeans Bible: a compendium of all things relevant to the brand, current on the line’s history and techniques. The bible is comprised of 10 commandments in proper staunch piety towards denim, and includes such gems as “You shall not covet your neighbour’s jeans bum” and “Honour your jeans by treating them well and wear them everyday.” However, the most regarded and followed commandment is ‘You shall not use the washing machine too early, wait at least six months.’

Not washing your jeans for six months? It may sound outrageous but there is a rationale. Nudie Jeans Co. dyes its denim with indigo rope-dyed cotton yarn. The jean’s indigo dyes will bleed through wear and wash. Hence, the cardinal rule of waiting six months to wash your jeans—lest the perfect organic indigos fade, and the pants lose their worth—is adhered to by Nudie wearers. By avoiding the washing machine, the indigo is naturally worn away in the creases of the garment. Upon its first washing (advisably over half a year later), the jeans worn-in creases will fade in colour and a gorgeous contrast will be achieved. Those patient enough and careful to avoid any stains are rewarded for their devotion with a great pair of legs.

Thou shalt not use the washing machine too early, wait at least six months.

The jeans range anywhere from $200.00 to $300.00 a pair—a steep rise for those used to the swath of nearly identical less expensive stretch denim jeans. However, these spectacular pants are expensive for a reason. To get the full effect of the wash, the owner must wear them practically everyday for several months. As such, these jeans are created with comfort in mind and a flattering line, coaxing people to fall in love with their European charm and to wear them religiously—even after their first wash. Hence, they surpass those cheaper jeans and are a true investment, like, oh say, real estate. Except on your legs.

the_naked_truth_about_denim_2