With 20 years of experience in the fashion space, we get asked a lot of questions as to the best way to care for your favourite KING pieces; however, the one item that continually pops up is denim. How will it age, how will it wear, how long will it last, how should it be washed?
We like jeans - a lot. We own a lot and we wear a lot. Our first foray into denim and jeans development was in 2006 when we introduced the classic Prestige and Patrol denim jeans as worn by Plan B and Wretch 32. Fast forward through many iterations of Japanese raw selvedge, highly embellished ‘Yoropiko’ style jeans, to our present day offering of 2 up-to-date core styles across four classic washes.
We believe that a well-worn pair of denim jeans should always reflect the lifestyle of its owner. It’s all about the jeans ageing and evolving over time, resulting in a look that is completely unique. Follow our guide below that breaks down the different types or denim jeans and how to care for them, whether they are new or classic KING pairs or jeans from another brand that you can’t give up.
Let’s take a look at the difference between our standard denim and our selvedge denim:
Standard denim is woven using projectile looms: that means the looms go through one way, the yarn is cut, then the loom goes back the other way. Our standard denim is usually between 12 and 13oz and we use the highest quality fabrics to produce these jeans. Our standard denim is washed and treated in different ways to give them a worn and used look from day one. To achieve this look the denim is bleached and goes through several time-consuming, expensive and permanent mechanical treatments like stone washes and sandblasting.
Selvedge denim is woven on shuttle looms, meaning it's one continuous yarn going back and forth. This means the edges of the fabric are finished (the self edge = selvedge) and makes for a stronger, more durable fabric. This is the highest grade of raw dry denim, but it's also more time-consuming and requires the best raw materials, hence the higher cost.
To illustrate the ageing process we have picked out a pair of our original Select Selvedge Raw Denim from one of our previous collections. This was the first ever pair of selvedge jeans that we produced back in 2008 and is a piece we still consider a benchmark in the development of our King range of denim. Shown is a brand-new pair in their raw state, never worn and straight from the packaging, and a pair that has been worn regularly since they came out 15 years ago.
You will notice several major changes:
Fading. Denim is dyed with indigo, and it's only the outer layer of the yarn that is dyed, with the core remaining white. This is why you never have an even blue colour, and there's always white coming through. This also explains why jeans get lighter with ageing, as the indigo dye eventually washes away from the fabric to show more of the core.
The second thing is how uneven the fading is. This is due to the stress points on jeans: the crotch, the pockets, thighs, etc… And fabric will conform to your body, how you use your pockets, where you bend your legs, resulting in such things as whiskers on the thighs. Shrinkage. In general, expect to see 1-2” in the waist and 2-3” in length on a pair of raw selvedge denim compared to a worn, washed denim.
Caring and washing your denim requires different techniques for each type.
For Raw Selvedge and Raw standard denim we recommend soaking them in lukewarm water when first purchased. The water temperature should be adjusted depending of the amount of shrinkage you want (the hotter the water, the more shrinkage you should expect). This will also bleed any loose dye. Wear your jeans as much as possible to soften them up and before their first wash which we recommend is after six months. The longer you can keep them unwashed the more natural and personal the wearing. Soak them every now and then to get rid of surface dirt and to bring out the fading. When you do wash them, use a cold wash inside out. If you want to retain the raw look just send them to get dry-cleaned. Well-worn raw denim should be washed inside out to avoid unwanted crinkles from the machine. Wash in 40 degrees to get a better fade and bring out the natural worn in effects. Wash in a cold wash for a darker look.
Pre-washed denim jeans don't have to be treated in the same way as raw denim. These can be washed as normal on a cold cycle as the pre-wash effect has already been applied. Never wash jeans in a fully loaded washing machine as this can create permanent crease marks.
All of our denim jeans should be shaken flat after soaking or washing to avoid any unwanted stay press effect. When they are still damp you can stretch the inseam as much as needed. All jeans should be dried naturally by hanging, not folded. Never put them in the tumble dryer as this will reduce the material life-span.
Our current E15 jeans were developed over a year long process of fabric testing, pattern cutting, sampling, refining and sampling again until we were satisfied that the result was exactly what we wanted. The four washes include the classic indigo mid-wash with wearing and whiskering, a light stone wash subtle bleach, black over-dye and the best selling vintage wash with rust wearing and whiskering.
The standard E15 straight leg jean utilises an 11.5oz denim with a 3% elastane composition. This jean follows a more straight leg fit with a taper towards the ankle cuff. The elastane affords a behaviour and stretch within the fabric allowing them to be worn loose or tighter, depending on the style you’re looking for. They also include some rip-and-repair features including destroyed patches, bleaching and rusting dependent on the wash. All jeans come with custom tooling including KING branded fly placket buttons, rivets and suede belt loop.
The E15 relaxed fit jeans are a throwback to our original shape and style. Built on a heavyweight 13oz denim block, these jeans are a much looser fit with a slight tapered lower leg and ankle cuff. Following cues taken from our early styles, the relaxed fit features an array of custom rivets, branded fly placket buttons, embroideries on the belt loops and coin pocket, strapline embroideries beside the rear pockets and a fully embroidered KING logo on the rear yolk. These embroideries are colour matched depending on the denim colour chosen. A shape from our early years which has come full circle, these particular styles stand as our premium offering and can be picked up in six different waist sizes from 30-40.
We want to see your contributions to our denim evolution. You can post your pictures wearing our jeans on Instagram or tiktok and tag us in and we will re-post and re-tag the best pictures in our ‘Born To Rule’ Instagram highlights.