Raw Denim Term for the Fashion Industry

Fashion Terms   Medium Wash Denim   Selvage Denim   Denim verse Dungaree

Dry or raw denim (contrasted with "washed denim") is denim that is not washed after having been dyed during production.

Over time, denim will usually fade, which is considered desirable by some people. During the process of wear, fading will usually occur on those parts of the article that receive the most stress. In a pair of jeans, these parts include the upper thighs, the ankles, and the areas behind the knees.

After denim is made into an article of clothing, most are washed to make them softer and to reduce or eliminate shrinkage (which could cause the article to not fit properly after the consumer washes his or her jeans). In addition to being washed, "washed denim" is sometimes artificially distressed to produce a "worn" look.  

Much of the appeal of artificially distressed denim is that it resembles dry denim which has over time faded.  In regard to the jeans made from dry denim, such fading is affected by the body of the person who wears them and by the activities of his or her daily life.  This process creates what many enthusiasts feel to be a more "natural" look than the look of artificially distressed denim.

Most dry denim is made with 100% cotton and comes from numerous countries of origin. In particular the USA and Japan are well known popular sources of cotton for making raw denim

As with most types of denim, dry or raw denim also varies in weight, typically measured in by the weight of a yard of denim in ounces. 12 Oz. or less is considered light denim, 12 Oz. to 16 Oz. is considered mid-weight, and over 16 Oz. is considered heavy weight.  Heavier denim is much more rigid and resistant to wear, but can also take more wears to break in and feel comfortable.

You may want to learn about selvage denim as well.


One common misconception is that raw denim and selvedge denim are the same thing.  Raw denim refers to unwashed denim that has not been shrunk, whereas selvedge denim is a type of denim made using a traditional shuttle loom.

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