Made from raw Japanese selvedge denim combined with ultra-tough aramid fibres.
- 14 oz. raw selvedge Japanese denim
- Material woven with aramid fibres for extreme strength
- Tough enough to survive 75kmph falls
The first ever pair of jeans were made for a lumberjack. Built for life in the woods, they were designed to be exceptionally tough – the strongest pants anywhere in the world at the time. But over the last 150 years, jeans have changed to the point where the original lumberjacks wouldn’t even recognise them. Skintight pants with premade rips are about as far away from the origin of jeans as you can get.
So we’ve gone back to the first days of jeans to build them as they were meant to be built. We’ve worked with the world’s most fabled mills and the master craftsmen of denim, and combined that with the toughest modern day materials to create some of the strongest jeans ever made. The Blue edition is made with high-strength raw denim, spun on low-speed looms to create the tightest possible weave, then woven with aramid fibre which is stronger than steel, and reinforced with Cordura panels. They’re the jeans lumberjacks would have wanted.
Rebuilding jeans as tough as they were meant to be
Over the last 150 years, jeans have changed to the point where the original lumberjacks wouldn’t even recognise them. So we’ve gone back to the first days of jeans to build them as they were meant to be built. We’ve worked with the world’s most fabled mills and materials, alongside the master craftsmen of denim, and combined that with the toughest modern day materials to create some of the strongest jeans ever made. We’re going to break the Blue edition down into the three key parts. We’ll start by looking at raw denim, before moving onto what selvedge denim is and how it’s made, then we’ll get into the aramid fibres and Cordura reinforcement.
Built with raw denim
We make our Lumberjeans with the same raw denim the lumberjacks wore, which is very different to the denim most jeans are made with today. These days denim normally goes through a series of treatments like stonewashing, sandblasting and lasering straight after it’s been dyed. It’s what makes a pair of new jeans feel soft and worn-in straight off the shelf. But by accelerating the wearing process these treatments weaken the denim. Raw denim is much tougher because it bypasses nearly all these treatments. It’s denim in its purest and most rugged form.
Raw denim ages better
Raw denim softens and moulds to the shape of your legs over time, eventually creating a fit that regular denim just can’t match. The jeans will also develop beautiful fade patterns too, with each pair fading differently depending on how they’re worn in. Some of the fade patterns have their own names, like honeycombs for the backs of the knees and whiskers for the thighs. Even the pockets where you keep your phone and wallet will develop their own patinas.
They soften up. Once you’ve broken them in
Since raw denim hasn’t been washed it retains more dye than regular denim. And this makes raw denim jeans feel pretty rigid and unforgiving when you first put them on. You literally have to break them in by wearing them over a couple of weeks. If you’ve ever owned a pair of raw denim jeans before, then you’ll know what we mean. If you haven’t, then you need to know that squats, roundhouse kicks and yoga are going to be off the cards for the first few weeks. But once you’ve broken them in, they’ll be the most comfortable jeans you’ve ever owned, and retain all the natural strength that denim is supposed to have.
Think before you wash them
How and when you first wash raw denim is still a contentious subject. Denim is a tough cotton twill fabric, which is normally indigo dyed to create its signature colour. So some denim purists will hold out for as long as possible before washing their jeans – normally until they can’t bear the smell anymore. This will give you higher contrast fades when you eventually do wash them, because the material has had more time to crease and fold as you wear it. You just need to be a bit careful what you sit on as the dye can leave marks. If you’re not bothered about fading patterns then you can wash the jeans relatively early on and the colour will be more uniform.
SIze + Fit
The Lumberjeans are designed with a slim fit.
Getting the right size in a pair of raw denim jeans used to be difficult. Since the denim hadn’t been pre-washed, it would shrink by up to 15% the first time you would wash it at home. So people would buy their jeans a size bigger than they needed, then wash them to get the correct fit. This is called shrink to fit. But the Raw edition of the Lumberjeans goes through a process called ‘sanforization’ where the denim is treated with steam to reduce shrinkage after the first wash. It means you can just pick up the jeans in your regular size, and you’re good to go. If you’re on the borderline between two waist sizes, we recommend going for the larger size.
|Fits waist||71 - 76||76 - 81||81 - 86||86 - 91||91 - 96||96 - 101|
|Fits waist||28 - 30||30 - 32||32 - 34||34 - 36||36 - 38||38 - 40|
Woven on shuttle looms to make them even stronger
If you’re building an incredibly strong pair of jeans, how you make them is just as important as what you make them out of. So we haven’t just used raw denim, we’ve worked with something called raw selvedge denim. Selvedge can only be woven on low-speed looms called shuttle looms. The looms seal the edge of the fabric, creating a distinctive “self edge”, which is where the word selvedge comes from. And most importantly, selvedge creates a tighter weave, making for a more durable denim.
Selvedge is a stamp of master craftsmanship
Weaving denim on shuttle looms is a much slower process than making denim using high speed modern machinery, which means it’s impossible to mass produce denim like this. And that’s what gives selvedge the stamp of master craftsmanship. You can spot selvedge denim by looking for the distinct white edges when you roll up the hem of the jeans or look at the ticket pockets. And if you’re wondering what the thin yellow line is that runs through the white selvedge strip on the Lumberjeans – those are the aramid fibres we’ve used to make the jeans even stronger.
Combined with aramid fibres for extreme strength
To create some of the strongest jeans ever built we weave aramid fibres directly into the raw selvedge denim. On a weight for weight basis aramid fibres are 5x stronger than steel, which is why they’re normally used to make body armour and bulletproof vests. 8% of these Lumberjeans are pure aramid, making them an insanely hard-wearing pair of jeans.
Tough enough to survive 75kmph falls
While raw selvedge denim woven with aramid fibres is insanely tough on its own, we’ve also taken the three typical failure points in jeans and made them even stronger. We’ve lined the seat of the jeans and both knees with a layer of Cordura – a high tenacity Nylon with extremely high abrasion resistance. During lab testing we recreated a 75kmph fall and drag on concrete, and the knees and seat survived without a single hole appearing. The rest of the jeans easily passed at 45kmph too, making these some of the toughest jeans ever made.
Our denim is made in the birthplace of Japanese denim
To make denim this strong requires a special kind of partner, so we headed to the birthplace of Japanese denim. The Japanese city of Fukuyama has become a mecca for denim obsessives. Surrounded by the Chūgoku mountains on one side, and the Seto Inland Sea on the other, its unique climate has produced exceptional cottons since the Edo period. Today, Fukuyama is home to Kaihara, Japan’s top denim manufacturer. Founded in 1893 it started life making handwoven indigo-dyed bingo kasuri – a traditional fabric painstakingly woven on shuttle looms.
There was only one mill in the world we’d work with
People have been dyeing materials with indigo for around 6,000 years. Extracted from the leaves of a bean plant, it was once extremely rare. And Kaihara’s founder, Sukejiro Kaihara, was an indigo obsessive. In 1970 the mill developed Japan’s first rope-dyeing machine, allowing denim to be created by passing white darn through an indigo dye bath. This pioneering Japanese dyeing technique is key to creating the unique effect of one-of-a-kind raw denim, known by denim-heads as ‘cat whiskers’. So when it came to working with someone on developing our very first pair of jeans, we had a short list. It had to be Kaihara.
Onk-soushin, the philosophy of old meeting new
In a world of fast fashion and mass manufacturing there aren’t very many shuttle looms left. And there’s an even smaller number of skilled artisans capable of operating them. Today Kaihara has 200 looms still in active use and it runs them alongside their state of the art modern machinery. It’s a philosophy called “onk-soushin” – a way of producing new fabrics by working with old and new techniques at the same time. And it’s this philosophy that allows them to vertically integrate the whole process, from spinning and dyeing the denim, to weaving and finishing it too.
Dyed using painstaking rope-dyeing techniques
Kaihara’s denim is known for its unique depth of colour, texture and character. And it’s all thanks to the materials and dyeing processes they use. If you wanted to make jeans quickly or cheaply you wouldn’t do it the way they do. Our Lumberjeans are dyed using painstaking rope-dyeing techniques where yarns are suspended from the second floor of the factory before being slowly lowered into vats of indigo dye. Just as slowly as they go in, the yarns are then removed from the dye, allowing the dye to oxidise and stick to the cotton.
Kaihara’s environmental standards
As a manufacturer using natural cotton and indigo dyeing to produce its high-spec denim, Kaihara takes its coexistence with nature seriously, setting its own environmental standards that are far stricter than the Japanese national standard. So all of its waste water is filtered back into drinking water before it leaves the mill.
The very first pair of jeans was made for a lumberjack
While workwear became fashionable in the 1990s, in the 1880s lives depended on it. Although jeans later became synonymous with cowboys – and later still with bikers, outlaws and rock stars – the very first pair of jeans was made for a lumberjack. In December 1870 a woman walked into a tailor’s shop in Nevada. She was at the end of her tether. She needed a pair of pants for her husband. They needed to be tough. And they needed to be made quickly. The husband was off work sick, and he had to be back chopping wood by January.
Reinforced pockets and a loop for your axe
The Lumberjeans are built with six pockets. There are two large front pockets made entirely from Cordura. Layered just behind the front right pocket you’ll find a small selvedge ticket pocket. Two angled back pockets sit at the back of the jeans, and they’re lined with Cordura. You’ll find another selvedge ticket pocket at the right back pocket. And since axes don’t fit in pockets, we’ve added a loop where you can hang yours on the side of the left thigh.
Ultra-durable, vintage detailing
Every element of the Lumberjeans is constructed with skilled craftsmanship that’s designed to last, with ultra-durable, vintage detailing. There’s a one-piece continuous button fly, a hallmark of quality vintage jeans. There are five large belt loops, and metal buttons and rivets which add durability to stress points. And since the back pocket rivets on denim were traditionally hidden to prevent cowboys from scratching their saddles, we’ve left them concealed. All the stitching is sewn with heavy duty thread, and you’ll find intricate chain stitching at the hem and the waistband.
Jeans quickly became the lumberjacks’ uniform
The tailor had some experience with rugged materials. He already produced tents and wagon covers. So he made the trousers out of sturdy cotton duck, a heavy weight fabric with a twill weave. Another of his customers was the local blacksmith, who he used to supply with horse blankets with copper rivets built into the straps. So he hammered a few of these rivets into the pockets for good measure as he figured they might help this woodsman’s pants hold out a bit longer. Word of mouth soon spread. The new pants could take a beating like no pants before them. Jeans became the uniform of lumberjacks, loggers, railroad men and miners.
America’s second skin
Traditionally the weak link in workers’ pants had been the pockets. These men often worked on their hands and knees, using their pockets to carry tools and stones, so their pants tore easily. Rivets were a breakthrough. Soon companies selling these newfangled “waist overalls” sprang up everywhere. And this tough new uniform had one more benefit. It gave workers a sense of solidarity. An idea of belonging and enduring together. Esquire magazine called them ‘America’s second skin.’