Denim, So What's the Big Deal

// img via D'Marge
Denim, so what's the big deal? Its a longstanding mystery as to why jeans can range from $30 to $500+. For many, there are countless other things they could be spending their money on. In fact spending upwards $600 on a pair of jeans generally isn't in a person's top priority list. Labels like J BrandTrue Religion, and Rock'n Republic are well known - but little is known about why they're so high in price.

// via Winston Model Management


Brands like Calvin KleinGloria Vanderbilt, and Michael Kors - to name a few, advertise their "designer" denim but they're far from comparable to their luxury counterpart. Here's only a few reasons as to why luxury denim labels are able to garner their hefty price tags:




A lot of luxury brands make their denim in the United States. This factor alone increases the price of their products. Whereas lesser-priced labels import a lot of their jeans from China. Comparing the vast differences between labor costs, a safe environment, and cost of living makes it easy to initially see why there's such a large price gap between the two.

// Loren Manufacturing Co. Brooklyn

Matthew Saam, director of men's designs at J Brand, pointed out that their denim construction undergoes rigorous testing within the fabric alone. Many higher labels take precious care of their products, even after production putting them through extra inspections to ensure that every pair that reaches a sales floor is in perfect condition. While lower-end companies certainly have their standards, their mass production processes makes it difficult to ensure that every piece is reaching stores in perfect condition. They are also known to sell imperfections to outlets and warehouse shops such as Costco (though many decline to publicize this fact).


Fabric quality all comes down it's history. Selvedge* is the main process in constructing a superior fabric during production. It began in the late 1800's on narrow looms - basically producing a natural edge that prevents the fabric from unraveling. Lesser-quality denim does not use this process, these labels use larger sized looms which ultimately leaves threads with loose ends. The larger loomed process decreases production time and, in turn, increases a label's financial gain.

// via French Truckers
Long story short : narrow loom = tighter thread = higher quality = increased prices

*Selvedge \\ An edge produced on woven fabric during manufacturing that prevents it from unraveling. 


Low-end denim brands typically make jeans to fit the masses, meaning that their tailor is minimal to none. Implying that their denim fits everyone, its quite the understatement - and more often that not their products fail to give the needed fit in a number of areas. Many high end brands include custom tailoring with their purchase, which not only feeds into their price, but also produces customer satisfaction.




Luxury brands are known to come equip with quality hardware. Smooth running zippers and tightly sewn buttons, not to mention the craftsman ship in sturdy seams. Less costing brands tend to overlook the quality in these items, and with a lot of wear, begin to break.

// via The Kmiecs

Additionally, quality denim will last you much longer than others. Branded selvedge denim will begin to develop it's own character and mold itself to your body, developing a unique wear from person to person. Matt Eddmenson, codesigner ad Imogen + Willie (a luxury denim brand that's based in Nashville) recommends even not washing high ended denim after each wear. "Too much washing fades the wash and makes the denim weaker," he says, recommending not washing them for the first six months. "This allows jeans to mold to your body Then, wash every 3 to 6 months as needed."

// Miss Sixty
All-in-all branded denim is definitely worth the price if you're able to make the investment. However, in the current economy, dropping upwards of $400 per pair of jeans is definitely not practical. Luckily there are classic alternatives that come without the hefty price tag. My advice? Find well cut inexpensive pieces of denim in dark colors. Wash very infrequently and make sure not to dry them (denim tends to lose it's hold and shape when dried). 
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