Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
Raw denim practices occupy a small niche in the retail world that almost always comes off weird to onlookers, but a small brand out of Wales is taking things to a whole new level with their raw denim care. According to The Guardian, Hiut Denim employed 50 people to act as "denim breakers" for six months—basically, these guys wore the jeans for 150+ days straight without washing or ironing them, and then returned them back to the brand to be auctioned off to ready and waiting customers.
While the strict no washing or ironing rule cuts down the jeans's environmental impact, Huit claims that they feel the demand for these jeans is alive and well on an aesthetic level, too. "90% of our buyers want jeans that look old," co-founder David Hieatt told The Guardian. "A.P.C. in Paris, for example, buys back old jeans and resells them, often for more money. Good denim often looks better when it's been worn a bit."
The breakers receive a 20% cut of the price on the denim when it's sold (the pairs will go up for auction next week). According to one of them, the extra measure of having a stranger wear the jeans for six months solid adds value to the denim, and it should go over well at auction. "Luckily, they wash them first [before they are sold]," one of the breakers told The Guardian. "If you wear something every day, it will smell. But it's necessary—good raw jeans, when you get them, are like wearing cardboard. I think the idea is that someone will inherit them from me. It is anti-throwaway fashion."
· The people who are paid to break in your designer jeans [The Guardian]
· Cheap Monday's Giving Away 10,000 Jeans in 10 Minutes [Racked]
· Not Your 'Boyfriend' Nor Your 'Mom': Meet the Slouch Jean [Racked]