Why do natural indigo dyed selvedge? Who would know if we didn’t?

There’s a mythical story about the making of Wizard of Oz: The film was over budget and very late. One of the actresses approached the director with a cost saving idea. She thought the hours and hours spent putting layer after layer of petticoats on each actress could be saved because the camera would never seen them. They only saw the dresses and not the petticoats. She said to him ‘ No one would know’. To which he replied ‘But you would know’.

The point is the small details matter. They always do. When we set up The Hiut Denim Co, we set out to make the best jeans we can, and not the most jeans we can. That’s a different way to run a company. One that believes in quality.

So when it came to picking what Selvedge to use, we had that to guide us. That’s why we picked natural indigo dyed selvedge from one of the best mills in world.

Most Selvedge today is dyed with synthetic indigo. It’s good stuff. But it’s just not just the real thing. Natural indigo is an extremely laborious and costly process. The cotton is dipped in the indigo prior to being shuttle woven. And it is dipped as many as 15-20 times. The more dips it has, the darker the cotton will be.

And after all that painstaking hard work, when you compare a natural dyed jean and a synthetic one, there would be very little to tell them apart. That’s because the difference takes time to reveal itself.

A machine-dyed denim, whereby the indigo dye only “clings” to the surface of the cotton yarn (leaving a white core), hand-dyed denim cotton is deeply penetrated right down to the center of the yarn. As a result, hand-dyed denim will not only fade more slowly, but more beautifully.

That is good to know.