Nudie Jeans and the History of Woad/Guado

guadotees guado_696x464 _DSC2230 _DSC2141 _DSC2141_kombo2 _DSC1254 _DSC0852

Since ancient times the woad plant has been cultivated and used to make blue dyestuff in many European countries. It was already known in Egypt, possibly as far back as 1000 B.C.

In 1498 Vasco da Gama brought the Indian indigo to Europe. The woad industry was such a cash crop for Europeans, and the early indigo traders certainly had a rough time establishing their product. It actually became illegal to dye fabrics with this new dyestuff. In parts of 17th Century France and Saxony the use of indigo was threatened with the death penalty. The German government called it a pernicious, deceitful and corrosive substance – the devil’s dye. But on its better properties the Indian indigo slowly prevailed over woad based dye and was finally legalized in the mid 1700s. The devil's dye became the king of colours. Nowadays the vast majority of indigo used to dye garments is synthetically produced. But thanks to an enthusiastic community of people in Marche, Italy, the traditional way to produce indigo from woad, or guado as they call it, has been revived.

The woad is a flowering plant that looks like a kind of cabbage. It’s commonly known as “Dyer’s Woad”. The green leaves can be harvested six times in a year. But it is only the first year the leaves can be used for dying.

The process is labour intense. It takes 1000 kilos of leaves to make 1 kilo of dyestuff. To be able to dye our woad collection we bought all the dyestuff the farm could produce in a year. When the pigment is extracted from the leaves you get a green liquid. As the liquid is gradually reduced into sludge it turns blue. The sludge is dried to rock hard lumps of intense blue dyestuff. The dyestuff is solved in a mixture of soda and water. When the oxygen is removed, the solution turns green. Woad has its own alchemy in the dyeing process. The garments are slowly lowered into the dye bath and left to soak for some time, depending on the thickness of the fabric.

When lifted up from the dye bath the garment is yellow, when it reacts with the oxygen it first turns green and then blue. It’s pure magic! Since there is only so much dye stuff to extract from each years harvest this production is made in a very limited edition. Each garment has a special Woad/Guado stamp and a unique number from 1–700.


Nudie Jeans Fit Guide

From tight to regular. 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

  • Nov 05: Nudie Jeans Repair Shop Bowery is open for business at 188 Bowery, NYC. Come see us!
  • Oct 10: Nudie Jeans Repair Shop is coming to New York. Are you our new denim specialist?
  • Oct 09: Now in stock - Karl Parka in black and green!
  • Oct 05: We're hiring - denim specialists in Göteborg.
  • Jun 02: Jobba med oss! Vi söker AD-assistent (vik) till huvudkontoret i Göteborg.
  • Mar 18: Get a job! We are hiring in Göteborg and Kungsbacka.
  • Feb 04: 안녕하세요 한국 We're happy to announce that we now ship to South Korea.
  • Feb 03: We are proud to present Lamino by Nudie Jeans: A tribute to sustainable design.
  • More...

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

Nudie Jeans Repair Shops