A.BCH MATERIALS: RAW DENIMOur denim range is not another jeans collection (sorry). There are enough good people making good jeans out there. Our denim is uniquely A.BCH – customisable, tailored garments for living in. Learn more about our design process + why we chose to work with this material.
All images by Becca Crawford + Art Direction by Cristina Guerrero
A.BCH MATERIALS: Raw Denim
As a designer, I've always been fascinated with denim. It's one of the most durable fabrics out there, it's worn by almost everybody and it's stood the test of time from a style longevity perspective. But denim has a heavy environmental toll if it's not used appropriately and to its full extent. This isn't to say all denim is made equal, because it isn't. Many wash houses expel toxic effluents that pollute community waterways. Others are thin, cheap and not made to last like denim should. Others have elastane which may help denim to fit great at the beginning, but over time, breaks, looses ability to bounce back and is therefore destined for landfill after far too short a lifespan.
The design process is a long and considered one for us at A.BCH.
The development of denim products for us began back when we launched in 2017; I found a nice denim from India for our tote bags, and ended up working with the same supplier again when we needed another denim for our A.16 Signature Shorts. But these denims were seasonal and trend based, not something I could source again and again. Likewise, while the quality of the denim was fine, it wasn’t quite the weight I wanted. I dreamed of sourcing a heavy weight, high quality raw denim to work with in the future. So I started talking to a Japanese denim supplier. They had some beautiful quality raw denims, made on narrow shuttle looms, with nubby textures and heavy weights. Asking for an organic option, they said no - they just didn't have anything available back then due to low demand for organic denims in Japan. Fast forward to 2021, and the same supplier, who we've worked with on other materials in organic qualities, finally found a mill that could weave an organic raw denim.
Raw Denim A.BCH pieces in progress. Image captured on film by Becca Crawford + Cristina Guerrero
What's more interesting, is that this mill purchased the organic yarns from Egypt in 2007 but due to next-to-no demand in the Japanese market for organic denim, had been sitting on it for over 14 years. This was the kind of deadstock we could get behind, and there is plenty more available to re-order over time. This was a truly special denim, one of been searching for. Thinking about the product we could make, I didn't want to make regular jeans like everyone else. There are enough brands doing good jeans out there, but what I wanted to explore was the idea of more tailored pieces that denim could lend itself to.
We trialled the best seaming and thread weights, as using cellulose threads can have its drawbacks. My machinist and I worked together to ensure there was no compromise to durability. We upgraded our bar-tack machine to add additional strength and we sourced durable buttons and created a button attachment method to compete with a metal button's ability to be stressed. No detail was too small to consider.
Now, here we are in 2021 with our first capsule collection of denim pieces after years of research and development; A hero denim trench, a cropped denim jacket, a fitted super high waisted skirt and a pair of tailored shorts. Each were designed to mould to the wearer's body and develop a fade over time (as any raw denim will). Instead of using traditional trims like nickel rivets and buttons or zippers, we opted for our chunky corozo nut buttons, a recycled inner pocket and the use of bar tacks in cellulose thread to add strength to high pressure areas. This means our denim range is 100% cellulose based, recyclable (mechanically or chemically) and technically biodegradable. Not to mention its reliance on a surplus yarn and using what already exists.
A.40 Raw Denim Midi Skirt in Production.
One thing about raw denim, is it requires a slightly different care approach than regular, washed or heavily pre-distressed denim may, including, perhaps, not washing it at all. I wrote about that in detail in Caring for Raw Denim.
Fitting + Feedback at A.BCH.
See the full denim range here and stay tuned for our next post on Recycled Denim, coming soon.
Get good emails full of our news and latest articles direct to your inbox here.