Selvedge denim refers to the “self-edge” of the fabric – the denim is self-finished so it won’t unravel, and is often finished in red or orange stitching, rather than overlocking – you can see this when you turn up the bottom hem of your jeans.
This production technique harks back to heritage methods that were used to produce denim jeans before the 1950s. As it’s a more intensive and expensive process than modern denim production, most of today’s denim brands don’t produce selvedge. Those that do will naturally be priced higher, but the quality of the product is also much higher than standard denim, and they’ll last for years before wearing out.
Selvedge denim is produced only on shuttle looms, and is considered a premium fabric. There are only a few factories around the world that still use shuttle looms, and many of them are in Japan.
Selvedge jeans are now making a comeback, produced mainly by small independent brands, who want to offer their customers an alternative to mass-produced denim. Most of these retails sell online, but there are also a few shops in London that sell selvedge denim.
This men’s clothing store just off Carnaby Street offers a carefully curated selection of clothing from the coolest British, American, European, and Japanese brands.
There are several choices of selvedge denim jeans including Lee, A.P.C, OrSlow, and Levi’s Vintage. As well as jeans, there’s a huge selection of clothing including T-shirts, outerwear, footwear, and accessories. It’s well worth visiting the shop during one of their sales, when you can sniff out some bargains.
1 Marshall St, Carnaby, London, W1F 9BA
Open 10am – 7pm Monday to Saturday and 11am – 5pm Sunday
END curates luxury men’s fashion, exclusive streetwear, and new and independent labels from across the globe. They stock over 400 brands and labels, including footwear, accessories, and lifestyle products as well as clothing.
Some of the selvedge denim brands they carry include Visvim, orSlow, Edwin, RRL, and Nudie. As well as jeans, there are selvedge denim shirts and jackets available, and the selection includes a huge range of fits, washes, and styles.
59 Broadwick St, Soho, London, W1F 9QS
Open 10am – 8pm Monday to Saturday, and 11.30am – 6pm Sunday
Son of a Stag
Son of a Stag is a must-visit if you’re in London and take your denim seriously. They offer a wide selection of Japanese selvedge denim and independent brands from the UK and USA including Edwin, Spellbound, Studio D’Artisan, Samurai, and Kojima. There’s also a curated selection of other clothing and footwear.
If you need your jeans altered, they even offer a complimentary hemming service, and the staff are friendly and exceedingly helpful in general.
9 Dray Walk, London, E1 6QL
Open 10.30am – 7.30pm Monday to Wednesday and Friday, 10.30am – 8pm Thursday, 10.30am – 7pm Saturday, and 11am – 6pm Sunday.
Despite the name, Nudie Jeans in Soho doesn’t just sell jeans. Rather they offer a large selection of denim clothing including jackets, shorts, shirts, and t-shirts and sweatshirts to go with your denim.
Everything sold here is under the Nudie Jeans label, so you don’t have the choice of brands that you get in some other shops, but the selection covers both men’s and womenswear, and is extensive. The brand uses selvedge denim from Japan, Turkey, and the USA with a distinctive orange edge. There’s also a free repairs service in-store.
29 D’Arblay St, Soho, London, W1F 8EP
Open 11am – 7pm Monday to Saturday, and 12 – 6pm Sunday
Japanese clothing brand EDWIN has been producing selvedge denim since the 1960s, and is a favourite brand of Brad Pitt, who has modelled for the company several times. Edwin was the first company to invent “stone washing” in the 1980s, which revolutionised the denim industry.
All the brand’s selvedge jeans are still made in Japan, in the Nihon Mempu and Kaihara mills, with the brand’s distinctive rainbow selvedge. There are various styles available for both men and women.
25 Henrietta St, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 8NA
Open 11am – 7pm Monday to Saturday, and 12 – 5pm Sunday