What's in a square?

We see checkered shirts every day, but do we ever pause for a second and think about what checks or squares are? Who makes them and how are they made? Is there a machine or computer that makes squares? Is there a mathematical formula telling you what colors to pick and where to place each line? In some cases you might claim that the music of chance has some relevance, but in most cases there’s a real person, diligently toiling away over color samples; armed with rulers and an infallible sense of taste, trying to find the perfect square.

When making a square there are a few parameters that needs to be taken into consideration. Choosing your four or five favorite colors might not always be such a good idea, since you don’t really know what happen when you mix them together and what happens in-between the lines. Clear colors will give you a dull pattern, very static and impersonal. Using slightly dirty, and faded pastels however, and throwing in something unexpected will give you a vibrant and interesting pattern.

According to us, the best squares are made in Japan. Over the years we’ve used a lot of different Japanese fabrics and the result has always been very great. There’s really no telling why a Japanese square is superior. One reason might be that you can really tell that there’s a lot of hard work behind it. Expert knowledge and and the idea that everything can and should be refined and improved every time you make something is significant in Japanese culture; to master the art of calligraphy takes years of practice, and becoming a sumo wrestler is also a time consuming ordeal. This aspect is prevalent when they make their squares too. The right choice of colors and how many to feature are what sets the Japanese apart from the rest. This is our opinion, we cannot stress that enough.

So, what is it that makes the square? What part of this intricate pattern dictates the terms of the square as we know it? It’s almost impossible to answer all these questions, and the more we think about it, more questions arise. So let’s not dwell on it, check out our range of shirts, and our checkered shirts in particular and judge for yourself. Did we master the art of making squares with any of the shirts in our current collection?

This is how we do it: How to hem jeans

Hemming is something that divides denim wearers into four categories. Some are opposed to it and wouldn’t even consider it. Others would, but only if it’s done with the proper tools, i.e. a chain stitch machine. The third category are the ones who would allow it, if the original seam is reattached. Then there’s the lot who simply don’t give a hoot. All these opinions aside, we give you a simple guide on how to hem your jeans. This is how we usually do it, or at least in 99% of every hemming case.

*When you have measured your denim, don't cut them off according to what measure you got. You have to subtract at least one inch/2.5 centimeters from the original measure so that you have something to hem. We cannot stress this enough. If your jeans are just a tad too long, or they only need a little bit of hemming, wear them for some time and maybe wash them before hemming. If they are still a bit too long, we recommend you use a seam ripper and do as stated above.

Further tips and pointers: Remember that practice makes perfect – make a few test runs on a pair of jeans that you no longer use. At our Repair Shops, we got powerful sewing machines, but the ones people have at home will do just fine. However, before you start hemming, make sure the needle is up for the task. The needles we use are a lot stronger and won’t break as you hem the jeans Also, make sure you use a thread that’s a bit thicker than average. Ask your local sewing supply expert, they’ll know what to use.

User Stories: Mathias

Masa worn by Mathias for 14 months, washed twice.

Masa worn by Mathias for 14 months, washed twice.

”I bought these ones at the Repair Shop in Göteborg. They were limited edition and came in a special box, and had the Swedish and Japanese flag inside the waistline. I moved to Sydney two months later and these were the only jeans I brought with me, unknowing that the streets of Sydney during summer is one of the hottest places on earth. Right there and then I decided to break these in during my stay – my first pair of Nudie Jeans. I wore them during a time of great expectations, and I had faith in the future. Good times all around. This was also the very first pair I repaired. I went all in and used a thread that was too thick and too dark. I used to think it looked weird but now I think it's pretty cute. The beers of Shady Pines and the Ching-a-ling dance moves had a major impact on how the jeans faded and the final outcome.”

How would you like to start to break in a pair of denim, a jacket or a shirt made from selvage? This is where it all begins!

In Our Heads: Nick Coe

Nick is the founding editor of every denim head’s go-to online source for denim knowledge, RawrDenim.com. Even as a kid he was inspired by stories, and his father turned him on to collectibles. Stamps, coins, playing cards and sports memorabilia.

“For as long as I can remember, I've been enthralled with the authenticity and history of things. Today you might not find me pouring over stamps, coins, or hockey cards, you will find me captivated by people, products, and subjects driven by a memorable story.

There's a long list of reasons for why I do what I do, but it ultimately boils down to bringing together people and ideas. Regardless of our reader's background or interests or even the specific topic we're focusing upon, I love that we're able to open more people up to a niche subject as raw denim. Sure, there are of course other perks of what I do, but what excites me most is that we've created a place for people to immerse themselves in and learn along the way.

Aside from new content segments and series on RawrDenim.com, we'll soon be launching our second tool, the Store Guide, to help connect denim heads and shops. Similar to how our first app, the Scout, helps people find an ideal pair of raw denim based on their preferences, the Store Guide will help readers find a raw denim store based on their location and/or needed brand.”

Visit RawrDenim.com, the most comprehensive online resource for everything raw denim.

User Stories: Peter

Long John worn by Peter for 3 years, 5 Washes

“I pretty much lived in my jeans for a year. Together we've been to four festivals and five countries. They’ve kept me company on the bus, on the bike and at the pub. Looking back, I realize I spent more time with my jeans than with my friends. They've been washed five times now, and are a bit fragile, but it's better to burn out than to fade away.”

This is where every journey starts!

Denimopedia: Jeans do have a memory

In spring and summer of 1996 a group of terrorist troubled the people of Spokane, Washington. They performed bank robberies to finance their actions. On the hit that would be their last, one clear image of one of the suspects, caught on the bank’s CCTV footage, became the evidence that would take the whole gang down. Even though the suspects made sure to cover their faces with ski masks to keep the police guessing, they forgot one little detail; their clothes, and particularly their denim.

For those of you who wear dry denim it’s no secret that the time you spend in your jeans will eventually show. A person’s denim tells us a lot about who they are, what they do and where they’ve been. Every pair of denim becomes a fingerprint of the person wearing them. This caught Dr. Richard Vorder Bruegge of the FBI’s attention when he analyzed the CCTV footage. The way a person wear and wash their jeans, the atari created on the bottom hem, on the side seams, and on the back of the knee, were all characteristics that could tie a pair of jeans to this crime rather than actual fingerprints or DNA. When searching the homes of the four suspects, they found the pair the CCTV footage and the suspects were brought to trial and convicted.

This showed that the physique of the suspect and the wear proved to be evidence enough to put the bad guys in the slammer, but during the investigation, Bruegge also discovered that one person’s denim would reveal a lot more. You could also trace the history of the denim back to the person who made the jeans. By analyzing wear patterns on the worn and washed denim, he found that every step of the process makes every pair jeans more unique. The way a craftsman cuts the pieces, pushes the fabric through the sewing machine and sets the rivets, could tie a pair of jeans to a specific manufacturing facility, and even a specific person. Most denim is sewn by hand by real people which makes it’s virtually impossible to make two pairs exactly the same.

When buying a pair of drys, we often forget the people making the jeans. We see the dry denim as a blank page, waiting to be filled with our own stories and memories. Claiming that a pair of jeans has no memory couldn’t be further from the truth. The jeans in the Spokane case were worn, loved and cared for by a person. And even though, he might have had questionable motifs, he loved his denim and let them tell his story, but through this wear, the denim also told the story about the person making the jeans, showing us that each pair is a fingerprint, and the appearance of a pair of jeans is a unique collaboration between, fabric, maker and the person wearing the jeans.

This is something to ponder as you start your next break-in project after the summer. Also remember to stay out of trouble.

User Stories: Mitchell Fong

Thin Finn Worn by Mitchell for 5 years, 3 washes.

“I bought my Thin Finns around September of 2009. I love that they're like a part of me. I've had them so long they fit so well. Its almost like a time capsule as you can see the fades over the years and all the memories in the jeans. I pretty much wore them every day for 2 years, it was kind of second nature to just throw them on in the morning. I think the secret is to be patient and just wait out the first wash, and learn to love your fades and rips. I've washed them 3 times. Hardest part was getting my mom to not wash them the first year and a half. I've got a blood stain on my right thigh from basement boxing my friend...which is always a good idea right? I get quite a lot of comments and compliments on their current condition. I guess people are pretty impressed with the fades and repairs that have gone into these Thin Finns. I hope they hold up forever.”

In Our Heads: Ruedi “Swiss Jeans Freak” Karrer

You love denim, but we can assure you; you do not love denim the way Ruedi Karrer does. Under the moniker Swiss Jeans Freak, Ruedi dips his fingers in everything that has to do with the Bleu de Genes.

“I was born September 8th, 1959, in a remote mountain village in the Swiss alps with 9 brothers and sisters. I'm a complete raw denim addict since my childhood when the first Levis 501 Big E raw denim jeans reached our family place in a clothes donation parcel. I started the jeans museum in 1973 and today it contains 12.000 jeans and jackets from 1950 up until today. I love the natural denim evolution if worn hard over years without any washing and watching the process of fadings. Especially the denim evolutions seen on green or yellow cast denim.

I work part time as a geographer, creating maps, checking data on water management and risk, flood management and other topics concerning water for the Zürich city council. The rest of my time I spend building up a little jeans museum of the heaviest fadings to show people the power of denim evolution. Ensuring that the raw denim spirit shall be kept alive forever.

I hope to get one step further with the jeans museum of heaviest fadings, with inventory, taking pictures, build a database and finally a website in english. I plan to build up a proper museum and change from this one-man operation into something bigger. In the long term, I plan a worldwide center of denim evolution, a safe home for as many rescued, retired and well loved raw denim projects as possible, and they shall receive eternal life there.”

If you want to know more, or donate a well-loved pair of denim, visit the Jeans Museum!

Follow Ruedi on Twitter & Instagram!

We Love Screaming Females

Screaming Females are a three-piece punk band from New Brunswick, New Jersey and easily one of the most explosive bands on the touring circuit today. They appeared at Sled Island Music Festival in Calgary at the hand of guest curator Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill, Le Tigre, Julie Ruin, etc) and although Hanna was unable to attend the festival because of a medical condition, Screaming Females upheld their punk rock ethos. We caught up with lead singer/guitarist Marissa Paternoster before their Thursday evening performance to talk about touring with Jack White and how her incredibly intricate artwork ties in with the bands aesthetic.

What was the catalyst in transitioning from doing DIY tours to touring successfully as a band?

– We started out touring playing house shows, using contacts we made from putting on shows in New Brunswick for other bands and calling in favors, sort of like a barter system. But we finally got a booking agent in 2009 when Jack White asked us to open for his band The Dead Weather on a tour. We had never really played shows like that before. We were playing for like +3000 people and it was really intense.

Screaming Females recently released Live At The Hideout but you didn’t do much touring behind it. What are your plans next?

– Our new album is done. We did it with this guy named Matt Bayles (Isis, Botch, Mastodon) in Seattle. Matt also played keyboards in Minus The Bear but is more widely known as a metal guy. Now I am just working on the art for it. It’s kind of a slow burn but because we are an older band we have the luxury of being able to sit down and plan out stuff way ahead of time.

Tell us more about your art. Does it tie in to the music or do you keep them separate?

– There is no way the two things can be separated. I’m not a mystic and can’t split myself in two. Everything that comes out of me must be inherently connected. I use a lot of text in my artwork that sometimes turns into lyrical content. Coming up with album cover ideas or even t-shirt designs, that stuff doesn’t just pop in to your head. You have to do a bunch of sketches, talk about ideas and go look at other people’s art.

Do you do ever show your stuff at art galleries?

– Once in a while I do. Right now I have a limited edition print of lithographs of a really big drawing I did and it’s for sale on my website. I am working on a new little zine too. Screaming Females takes up most of my time but I probably get most of my drawing done when we are on the road.

Screaming Females can be found online here. You should also order their live album Live At The Hideout from Don Giovanni Records here.

Photo and words: Glenn Alderson

Sled Island Day 3

Sled Island is all about stamina. When you go to a multi-day/multi-venue music festival, by the third day you have to dig deep inside yourself to channel your party stamina if you’re gonna make it and I dug pretty deep on Saturday afternoon to make it out to the main stage site at Olympic Plaza on this beautiful sunny afternoon.

At Olympic Plaza was a highly revered nostalgia act of sorts, Spiritualized. The English space rock band had a lot of dad vibes going on. But even with frontman Jason Pierce sitting down for the entire performance, the band took festivalgoers from the beer gardens to outer space and back again. Space is the place, indeed.

One of the biggest and most anticipated acts of Sled Island was easily St. Vincent and this became more than apparent as we walked up to Flames Central. With a lineup going down the entire block I was sure we weren’t going to get in. To call Annie Clark (AKA St. Vincent) a musician wouldn’t even be accurate. She is a higher being that takes performance art and music to dizzying new heights.

St. Vincent was an absolute festival highlight and the perfect way to end our weekend. I went home that night feeling satisfied knowing that Sled Island survived the flood of 2013 and remains one of the best music festivals in North America. If you haven’t been before, I would strongly urge you to add this to your list of things to do next summer — rain or shine. See you then!

Photo and words: Glenn Alderson

Fit Guide

From tight to loose. Here are the Nudie Jeans fits. Spin them around and compare look and measurements. Visit Fit Guide

Nudie Fit Guide
Nudie Production Guide

Production Guide

We take a great interest in where and how the Nudie Jeans collection is produced. See for yourself in the Production Guide

Latest news

  • Sep 10: Vi söker butikschef & butikssäljare till vår butik i Barkarby! nj.io/GkOL
  • Aug 29: These limited edition jeans taught Mathias pretty much everything he knows about denim. Read his User Story: nj.io/Lw7N
  • Jun 23: It’s Summer Sale Time! All Spring 2014 garments need to go, and are sold at 30% off at the Nudie Jeans Online Shop nj.io/Ftmj
  • Jun 11: The aged, patinated leather gives this bag a beautiful, well-worn look. Get Geronimosson Aged Trunk from the Nudie Jeans Online Shop nj.io/UZXG
  • Jun 06: Melting Butter paid us a visit at the Nudie Jeans Repair Shop in Soho. nj.io/Dhps
  • May 14: Yeah! Our Repair Shop concept won Sustainable Store of the Year award. nj.io/rio7
  • Apr 04: Black Coated denim is back - Thin Finn Back 2 Black. nj.io/PzGp
  • Mar 20: Guardian Sustainable Business wrote a nice piece on wear, tear & repair. nj.io/2pvM
  • More...

Your jeans go
where you go.
They live your lifestyle.
They get abrasions
and scars.
And they bleed.
Just like you.


Repair Shops