Japanese or Italian Selvedge Denim Jeans: High Premium Quality, Low Price from One Denim

One Denim Japanese Raw Selvedge Denim, Worn by Urban Gent Taariq Tut

It's been awhile since we've done a proper denim piece at The Urban Gentleman, so when the kind folks at One Denim hit us up we decided to to explore their offerings instead of just bypassing the request like we sometimes do (sorry others). A little history lesson… We wrote our first denim article, "Top 10 Jeans" back in July 2008, just a month after we started (the styles have changed so so much, it's kinda hilarious). In 2010, we were asked to do a Denim Style guide for H&M. Then in 2011 we collaborated with Italian brand Meltin Pot on their in-store and online campaign to relaunch their new collection. I reference all that to say we're definitely denim lovers and we've seen the growth in the past decade from a focus on just jean style to a more dedicated focus on premium selvedge denim.

Since 2010, selvedge denim has been a staple in any stylish man's wardrobe. The rise in popularity of course lead to more and more companies making their jeans selvedge, nearly every brand has caught on, but there's mediocre quality and high quality. You of course want high quality. The price for a really good pair of premium selvedge denim ranges between $195 – $450, generally landing around $300. This can be a little bit pricey if you're on a budget– whether it's saving for university or saving for that floating home you're itching to build in Seattle. The thing we like about One Denim is that they've found a way to cut out the middle man and offer a $300 pair of denim for $100 (£80). Pretty sweet right? Yea, we think so. To test out their line we chose to compare their staple Italian Selvedge Denim and Japanese Selvedge Denim

one-denim-the-urban-gent-raw-selvedge-jeans-unboxing

Unveiling of our One Denim jeans

What's Selvedge Again? Why Selvedge Denim?

Denim, though created in America (by Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss in 1873) has been refined and made premium by the Japanese. There's a high level of craftsmanship that goes into the denim making process in Japan. They use natural dyes, and more notably the pants are selvage or selvedge, from the phrase “self-edge”. Selvedge refers to the natural end of a roll of fabric which, when made into a pair of jeans, prevents unraveling of the material. The end product is a super clean, crispy, well-crafted pair of jeans. The cost of producing denim that is selvedge and only contains natural dyes is more expensive. But it also leaves you with a superior quality pair of jeans that you're able to personalize, if raw, over time. I remember several years a go a guy from Canada wore his jeans for 15 months straight, unwashed, just so he could personally distress them.

japanese vs italian denim the urban gent

Italian Selvedge Denim (treated) -VS- Japanese Selvedge Denim (raw)

 ONE DENIM: Japanese Selvedge -vs- Italian Selvedge Denim

Japanese denim is of course what you typically find when you are on the search for selvedge. It's tough, it's raw, and ready to be personalized over years of use. The pair we received from One Denim were just that.  Italian selvedge though is, hmmm, I don't know how to say this… it's like every other garment that is Italian, it's elegant. These in particular have a soft texture, natural fit and design, that make them the perfect everyday jean. I wanted to compare the two types of denim in hopes of being able to choose one, but quite sadly it's not that easy. Japanese selvedge or Italian selvedge? At $107 (£85.00) and $95 (£75.00) respectively I'd suggest both. If you're already 7+ years deep in the raw selvedge game then I'd go for the Italian jeans. If you're new to personalizing your own denim then of course choose the Japanese jeans. 

Straight Japanese Selvedge HI, here.  // Straight Italian Selvedge PS, here. 

italian denim jeans

Urban Gent Taariq Tut sported both pair. His body type is more muscular, more football than basketball, so we opted for the straight fit instead of skinny or slim. This was definitely the best choice, and the only choice if you're not a slim guy. Cuffing the bottom is always a stylish option, but we highly recommend getting your denim tailored, hemmed AND tapered. It's totally worth it and it's a small investment when you're already getting denim at such a good price. Always remember: Tailoring is better for your overall appearance in the long run. 

MORE ABOUT ONE DENIM PROCESS / HIGH QUALITY + LOW COST

one-denim-process-direct-to-consumers-fabric-mills

They've cut the middle man, so you guys can rock premium jeans for the low. I inquired about their mills and they happily fully disclose that One Denim only sources from some of the best denim mills in the world: Kurabo (Japan), Kuroki (Japan), Nihon Menpu (Japan), Cone Mill (USA), Candidani (Italy). 

italian selvedge denim

vintage vibes on a hot summer day

japanese selvedge denim

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1 Comment


  1. Denim are forever. They never go out of fashion.

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