Denim: Japanese Selvage

Those serious about their denim will know a thing or two about the art and appreciation of selvage denim. For those unbeknown, read on.

Selvage denim is the purest form of denim. It has a crisp edge and the quality is far superior compared to your regular denim. The edge of the fabric is used as the jean’s outseam which is an easy indicator to establish selvage versus non-selvage. Crafted with a much sturdier feel, selvage denim tells a unique story subject to the wearer’s lifestyle. With each wear, and as time passes, natural fades, unique colours and characteristics come through. You personalise your jeans naturally without knowing it.

Two gents can buy the exact same pair of selvage denim, but if you roll the clock forward, both pairs will look entirely different all depending on their lifestyles. Picking up a pair of selvage denim is like building a custom; the reward is having a one-of-one pair of jeans. Selvage denim lasts much longer, it’s a valuable purchase and the unique fades, stress-marks and wear-and-tear are truly unique.


Selvage denim is made using thick cotton and takes a while to ‘break-in’. Advice on breaking them in is to simply wear them and let the process take care of itself. Though be warned, the indigo dye from a brand-new pair of unwashed selvage jeans can ‘bleed’, leaving marks wherever you go and the dye can even leave blue stains at the top of your trainers.

Raw and selvage must not be mistaken as the same type of denim. Raw simply refers to whether jeans have been pre-washed during the manufacturing process or not.

Sizing can be tricky. It’s recommend to take your normal size or even go down a size as selvage jeans will naturally stretch out as time goes on. Looking after your selvage denim is crucial but simple. Repairs and patchwork only add to the story so don’t be afraid to repair a crotch blowout or patch over a hole.

Washing your selvage jeans can return some interesting results on Google (washing them in the sea, folding them up and leaving them in your freezer overnight and so on). What’s advisable is to machine wash them only when it’s a necessity. Advice for washing selvage denim would be to wear your jeans for as long as possible, put them in the washing machine on a quick spin cycle, hang them out to dry in the fresh air and then carry on as you were.


Our latest Edwin collection includes one particular style that has been crafted from a beautiful 14-ounce Japanese cotton. Edwin is the most celebrated denim brand not only in Japan but probably in the world. Edwin produce its own Japanese selvage denim, developed at its famous Kuroki Mill in Japan.

Edwin introduced selvage denim to the Japanese market and manufactured the first pair of Edwin jeans domestically in 1961. Throughout the 70s and 80s Edwin invented and developed ‘stone washing’; a process that went on to change the way the world looks at denim forever. Edwin SS18 includes several differing types of selvage denim.

A highly sought-after variation of selvage denim is ‘Rainbow Selvage’ that refers to the rainbow-coloured selvage edge. This multi-coloured selvage denim was first introduced by Edwin back in 1963 and is still popular today.


Nudie Jeans Co. is a denim label that we are delighted to welcome back for the SS18 season. A Swedish brand with a passion for all things raw and selvage denim. Born out of the Swedish coastal city of Gothenburg, Nudie are firm believers that denim should be worn raw and washed only when it’s essential (six months at the very earliest). Nudie is a denim partisan that uses organic fabrics with a sustainable and ethical approach to manufacturing. The Hip Store is in a better place with Nudie back in the mix and our first collection includes the Grim Tim – Dry Selvage Jeans.