Diving into Darkness: Nudie Jeans' Guide to Black Denim
While black denim has been a part of the denim landscape since the early 20th century, it wasn't until the 1980s that it achieved widespread popularity. This era played a significant role in the transformation of denim into the everyday fabric that it is today. In the midst of this transition, a new chapter in denim history began to unfold as dyeing mills adopted sulfur dyes as an alternative to indigo. This chapter was characterized by an exploration of various dyeing methods that would ultimately lay the foundation for the diverse range of denim colors we see today. Notably, this era paved the way for the popularity of black denim in particular and established the foundation for the black denim variations we offer today.
A denim made from black warp and undyed weft yarn. The monochrome version of “indigo blue denim” - simply put the indigo warp yarns are exchanged for black while the weft yarns remain undyed. This renders a two-sided fabric that appears dark grey rather than black. We use this type of black denim from time to time.
A "black denim" that is subjected to over-dyeing after its weaving process. This involves a dual-stage dyeing method – initially, the warp yarns are dyed, followed by the weaving process and a subsequent dyeing step known as over-dyeing, which imparts color to the entire fabric. The end result is a fabric that is entirely black. We find that this type of black denim has a particularly well-balanced aging property which is why we use it on most of our pre-washed black jeans.
This denim starts out as a “indigo denim” that is overdyed black after its woven. Hence it is similar to “black overdyed black denim” with the distinction being that the base denim is initially indigo blue before overdyeing. This results in entirely black denim with a subtle cold cast – a faint bluish tint from the underlying indigo. Similarly to “black overdyed black denim”, this type of denim has a well-balanced aging property. What distinguishes it from “black overdyed black denim” is the way it ages into cold cast shades.
Made from black yarn-dyed warp and weft yarns this denim comes out entirely black from the loom. Due to the exclusive use of yarn-dyed yarns, it inherently showcases vibrant aging attributes. Given its lack of overdyed treatment, it typically possesses a crisper texture – facilitating easier creasing and thereby yielding distinct wear marks. This characteristic renders it the most distinguished in terms of aging properties among the various black denim options. Due to its exceptional aging property, we use this construction on all our black selvage denim.
Onyx Selvage represents a black-black yarn-dyed denim, but it possesses an enhanced propensity for dynamic aging, due to two distinctive factors. Firstly, the warp yarns, prominently displayed on the fabric's front side, are sulfur-dyed black in an exceptionally superficial manner, accelerating their aging compared to the typical black denim. Secondly, the weft yarns, predominantly visible on the fabric's reverse side, are dyed using indanthrene black – a form of sulfur black with remarkably high colorfastness. This infusion imparts an added dimension to the denim as it evolves over time. The result – a fast-fading black denim characterized by its property in rendering high contrasting wear marks.
Made from undyed yarns and then dyed black, this denim yields a fully black fabric. Notably, this variant retains its black hue for an extended period, displaying resistance to fading from wear, washing, and pre-washing. We incorporate this denim option periodically, particularly to create pre-washed jeans with deep black tones and subtle wash effects.
Breezy Britt Aged Black
Everblack is a "piece-dyed black denim," but it is dyed using reactive black dye which has far superior colorfastness properties compared to sulfur dyes. Everblack denim retains its color remarkably well even after extended wear and numerous washes, ensuring that the denim maintains its rich black hue over time.
In this process, jeans are typically sewn from undyed denim and then later garment dyed to achieve a black color. Depending on the desired result, the denim can be of various colors. For instance, indigo denim can be chosen, resulting in black jeans with a cold cast. Over time, with wear and washes, this cold cast transforms into blue-black hues. The dyeing at the garment stage also leads to puckering at seams and imparts a subdued black hue. We use this technique intermittently, as it effectively produces pre-washed jeans with a muted surface, a rich texture, and a gentle aging quality.