Selvedge (or selvage) denim is a fabric produced on a shuttle loom, as all denim was prior to the 1960s. A shuttle loom produces fabric that is 31" wide and has closed edges, which is where the term "selvedge" comes from. It's a contraction of "self edge," as in self-edging fabric. The shuttle loom and its built-in irregularities are crucial to our love of selvedge denim, because it produces a denim with more character. When factories swapped out the older, slower, and less reliable shuttle looms for the modern projectile looms, they also threw out much of the character within the denim they produced. Selvedge denim will always age in a more interesting manner than jet-loomed denim, with a patina that displays the DNA of what the fabric actually contains, including the type of cotton that was used, the type of indigo, exactly how it was dyed, and even the type of loom used to weave the denim.
Around the late seventies and early eighties the Japanese took an interest in Americana. A few forward thinking Japanese brands started scooping up the remaining shuttle looms from across the world, bringing them back home to start making jeans the good ol' way. Though some smaller America denim produces, such as the Cone Mills in North Carolina continued to make their Selvedge fabric.
Selvedge denim is always a tighter, tougher, and harder wearing. The rigidity of the fabric means that these jeans don't sit too close to the body and stretch over time. Making them perfect for cycling in. American cycle brand, Swerve have produced a limited-run Selvadge pair. Using a White Oak denim fabric produced by Cone Mills, these are 11oz, and completely made in the USA. They have a slim fit, a cycle specific cut, and a reflective strip on the inside of the right leg.
Click here to view the new Swrve Selvedge Collection