So what is it about premium jeans that makes them premium? If you are a true denim connoisseur then you know it’s more than just the brand. One trait that improves the quality (and jacks up the price) is the use of Selvage Denim.  Normally, on denim of an inferior quality, the edge of the fabric on the loom must be stitched otherwise it will fray, but with selvage denim this isn’t necessary.  According to Websters, Selvage is "an edge produced on woven fabric during manufacture that prevents it from unraveling".   It is produced on a special kind of old-style shuttle loom that uses one continuous thread when going back and forth.  Back in the old days, weavers would sew the two selvage edges together using different colored threads to identify the fabric and this technique is still used today. However, the edges are stitched together on the outseam so when the jeans are cuffed the selvage is visible. We love it when old-school necessities become new-school trends.

800pxselvagedenim

4 thoughts on “What is Selvage Denim?”

  1. I’d like to clarify, if I may. You said, “One trait that improves the quality (and jacks up the price) is the use of Selvage Denim. Normally, on denim of an inferior quality…”

    “Selvage” is *not* synonymous with “superior quality”. People (usually young people) become mystified however, with selvage denim because of it’s history; it’s simply marketed in a manner that makes them believe that, say, a $300.00 pair of jeans is a worthwhile purchase. The *belief* that selvage denim is of “higher quality” than non-selvage denim justifies such an absurd purchase.

    Non-selvage denim actually costs *more* per yard than selvage denim, which is more narrow. The inflated price of a pair of selvage denim jeans however, is due mainly to the fact that it takes more yards of selvage denim than non-selvage denim to make a pair of pants. Marketing (and nothing more) accounts for any additional price hikes.

    The historical aspect of selvage denim is cool and interesting, however, the fact is that today’s looms weave more efficiently and stronger than yesterday’s shuttle looms. I’m not anti selvage, but the myth needs to be debunked.

    I suppose it all depends what you mean by “quality” though. Selvage denim has a higher quality *edge* than non-selvage denim. But **the entire rest of the fabric** (the part that matters to most people) is of equal quality (and sometimes of lower quality) than a lot of the denim woven on today’s looms.

  2. I’d like to clarify, if I may. You said, “One trait that improves the quality (and jacks up the price) is the use of Selvage Denim. Normally, on denim of an inferior quality…”

    “Selvage” is *not* synonymous with “superior quality”. People (usually young people) become mystified however, with selvage denim because of it’s history; it’s simply marketed in a manner that makes them believe that, say, a $300.00 pair of jeans is a worthwhile purchase. The *belief* that selvage denim is of “higher quality” than non-selvage denim justifies such an absurd purchase.

    Non-selvage denim actually costs *more* per yard than selvage denim, which is more narrow. The inflated price of a pair of selvage denim jeans however, is due mainly to the fact that it takes more yards of selvage denim than non-selvage denim to make a pair of pants. Marketing (and nothing more) accounts for any additional price hikes.

    The historical aspect of selvage denim is cool and interesting, however, the fact is that today’s looms weave more efficiently and stronger than yesterday’s shuttle looms. I’m not anti selvage, but the myth needs to be debunked.

    I suppose it all depends what you mean by “quality” though. Selvage denim has a higher quality *edge* than non-selvage denim. But **the entire rest of the fabric** (the part that matters to most people) is of equal quality (and sometimes of lower quality) than a lot of the denim woven on today’s looms.