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Friday, January 26, 2018

Denim Review: 15 oz. Cone mills Selvage by Bravestar Selvage

This review is of my favorite pair from Bravestar Selvage out of Los Angeles.  I've had this denim for just a little over 2 years now and they've been in my regular rotation.  Now, I know that the thought of wearing Pantaloons de Nimes for some traditional dress guys in 'verboten', but I really like the look and feel of a great pair of denim and so, I'm just going to have to be a bit of a rebel on this issue.

Bravestar is a great little company as I said based out of LA, and run by a Mik, who's real dyed in the cotton denim head.  All their denim as sewn in LA, all the hardware is Kentucky made, even the wonderfully thick vegetable tanned leather label patch is hand stamped in Los Angeles.  My pair is made from Cone Mills 15oz  (may Cone Mills rest in peace - they has since closed down their mill, which is a real heartbreak for denim lovers everywhere).  Brave star builds a stout pair of jeans and always at extremely reasonable prices (often way more than half the price of what you will pay in a denim boutique (I never thought I would use the words 'denim' and 'boutique' in the same sentence).  This pricing is made possible because they're selling directly from manufacturer to the consumer, which for those of us who have more sense the money, is always a great thing.

Starting to show the unique fade that each pair of raw denim develops to the wear of patterns of each owner:

Cool detail on top stud button:

Really Great looking and super thick vegetable tanned leather patch:

Now the thing I like about these jeans is the cut, I purchased the Slim taper in 34inch waste, tapers nicely to the ankle without being what anyone would call 'skinny jeans'.  Yes, they are snug around the waist to start, but they have broken-in nicely and have taken on that perfectly tailored fit that I love.  I typically wear a 36 inch in standard trousers and this size fits me well.  They have just released a new cut they're calling 'Regular Taper' that is more of a roomy fit through the waist and to the knee (Instead of slim) then taper like my pairs to the cuff.   I think for my next pairs I will try those.  Just because, well I'm not getting any younger or skinnier;-)

Keeping is genuine with great selvage ID in the leg and coin pocket:

I've given them a couple of rinses and a couple of full washes.  To be honest, I've lost patience for the whole soaking the bathtub/hand wash jazz, so I've taken to just putting them in the washer (inside out) with just a little detergent and fabric softener and giving them a short wash in cold. Then hang them to dry.  I know is heretical to true 'denim heads', and will most likely affect the fade, but the hand wash method is just too big a pain.  Plus, I wanted to move the fade forward a bit and so far, I've been really satisfied with the results.  Please bear in mind that these photos were taken in my workshop in full sunlight, so they look several shades lighter than in real life.

Honeycombing at the backs of the knees (Yes honeycombing is the technical term;-)

'Whiskering' at the crotch, given then that nice broken-in look:

Some wear and fading where my upper thigh rubs my work table and some fade where my pocket knife sits:

Altogether these Bravestar Selvage have been a great pair of denim than I'll enjoy wearing for years to come.  If you could use a sturdy pair of raw denim and you'd like to try some of what the Cone Mills had to offer before they're extinct, I suggest you head over to Bravestar Selvage PDQ!

Bonus write-up:
I built this belt to wear with my denim about a couple of years ago when I was building its twin belt for a local customer and I really like it.  It's a honey-colored 8-10oz vegetable tanned leather that has been the packed with oils and tumbled by the tannery to give it a great hand and a very cool large pebble look.  The buckle is a brushed nickel plate finish and the hand saddle stitching, of course, is done by me using heavy gauge French Ecru linen thread.  It's been the belt I wear most to keep up my more casual chinos and Pantaloons de Nimes:

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