I want to grow denim like vintage. Everyone who loves denim has at one time or another thought about how to do this.
Recreate vintage era environments
So the first thing to consider is to recreate the environment of that time.
Burying denim in the ground to recreate the denim that was lying dormant during the Gold Rush.
To reproduce the physical work, the pants are used for squatting, muscle training, and yard work.
To reproduce the strong bite of physical labor, laundry starch is re-applied to the denim.
Dyeing with red clay to reproduce water that was insufficiently purified due to its high iron content
There are many ways to do this, and many of you have probably tried at least one.
I have tried a few myself, but honestly they are not definitive and not as vintage. It would take decades of time to get at least decent results, so I can’t reproduce it.
In this context, I would like to introduce what I felt, as I have done a few times to puncture during my “journey”, which is something that ordinary people are not able to do.
Growing Denim on the Road
Even if we talk about “growing denim on a trip,” it is important to consider the kind of environment in which the trip takes place.
My most recent trip was to India and Bangladesh. The temperatures are high, so we sweat a lot, and I walk a lot during the trip anyway.
It is not hard work, but it will be about the same as light physical labor, since you will be doing a lot of uncomfortable traveling with a backpack.
In India, I spent a week in a rural village, which was a good aging environment.
Even in the city, there is a lot of dust and sand.
Living in the countryside, touching the soil.
Scorching summer temperatures
Often stop at places where air conditioning is not working
Move around all day long. Lots of moving around with luggage.
Also, as a point of interest, I don’t take off my denim most of the time during the trip because I eat out and drink tea outside until bedtime.
Washing and handling during travel
Since I was on the road for a month and a half, I wore denim all the time, except for my nightgown.
The three denim pieces I brought with me were not washed; it seems like plenty of time since each piece is two weeks old, but since I sweat every day, I have to dry them in the sun every day or the fabric will become too sticky.
What happened to the denim?
The pull-up photo does not show any change at all.
The repeated sweating and drying in the sun makes the fabric tougher and the sitting wrinkles more prone to biting.
I hope this picture shows some degree of dirt. It is not in a condition to be worn to the office.
Also, the smell changes more than the dirt. The smell is the thrift store itself, although the smell is not unbearable since it was dried daily in the sun.
What I thought after this trip
No washing, about 2 weeks per bottle, so no dramatic change, but I have a thought.
The fact that this old clothes smell occurred means that the ingredients of sweat and sand and soil must be left in the fabric.
I thought it was more important not to remove all the dirt than to be careful not to remove the indigo by washing.
And if possible, leave it for a few years with this sweat and sand or soil component remaining. It is better to give up on the inevitable breakage of the cotton threads in the sewing process and concentrate on the color fading changes caused by the residual material.
I have been on longer trips with denim in the past, and while it does bite hard, the coloring is not much different than when I wear it on a daily basis.
During the trip, I washed the denim less frequently, but I had to add fluorescent detergent to the denim because it was very dirty.
It is fluorescent and removes stains well, and I have never felt the smell of old clothes like I did this time.
That said, if we are aiming for a vintage-like fading, shouldn’t we be wearing them more grimy?
This does not mean that the clothes will not be washed for a long period of time, but rather that they will be soiled for a short period of time, as during physical labor, to the point that the dirt is not completely removed during washing.
And when storing denim that has been worn to perfection, do not wash it.
However, since they are worn in an intense environment, the color will fade in a way that is not seen in normal wear.