It may be a wardrobe staple that never dates but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep it fresh. Read on for our guide to denim washes and finishes and find out how to renew your wardrobe this season with new jeans.
1. Raw denim
Unwashed and sometimes referred to as dry denim, raw denim can be identified by its dark blue colour and stiff handle. As the name suggests, this is denim fabric in its unwashed, unfinished state received straight from the mill.
2. Acid wash
Made popular in the late ’80s, acid wash is also referred to as marble/ moon or snow wash. With sharp contrasts in tonal colour, acid-wash denim is achieved by soaking pumice stones in chlorine and adding them to the wash process.
3. Rinse wash
The most basic wash for denim, the purpose is to make the garment wearable. Residual dye is removed from the jean to help stop the colour running. The wash makes dark-wash jeans feel softer but still maintains a clean appearance.
4. Mid wash
A popular choice for many, mid-wash jeans have undergone a longer washing process than rinse jean to remove more indigo dye colour. This helps create the mid-blue colour level. The wash also ensures the jeans have a softer handle compared to the raw denim.
5. Light wash
A light wash jean is light blue in colour. The jean has been through a longer washing process than mid-wash jeans. The result is a lighter blue shade of denim jean.
6. Stone wash / bleach wash
Stone-wash denim is heavily faded by including stones such as pumice during the washing process creating a worn, lived-in look. Light and washed out in appearance, the process also softens the fabric. Washing with bleach is another way to achieve this finish. It can also be applied locally through spray or hand rubbing on the desired area. This process is very complicated and requires highly skilled operators.
7. Black/grey denim
Black and grey denim undertakes a similar dying process to traditional blue denim but uses different dye colours. Grey or black jeans can have a solid colour appearance, or be faded by using a longer washing process.
8. All-over tinting
This is when different dyes have been added to the denim during the washing process. It follows that different colour dyes create different colour finishes. Commonly used are Brown and Green tints to give a browned off or green finish.
9. Coated denim
PU (Polyurethane) coating is applied on the fabric in the mill after weaving. It will not deteriorate during laundering so this type of coating will last the for the life of the garment.
10. Vintage finishing
Often called a vintage, the washing and finishing process create this ‘worn in’ look. Colour levels can be changed and tints added to give different colour levels. In addition, PP Spray (a kind of bleach), hand scraping, whiskering and grinding are also used to finish.