The history behind Red Selvedge Denim begins with the old style shuttle-loom being born in the latest 1800’s.
This machine was able to produce tightly woven and heavier denim strips that were quite narrow but very long.
In fact, the denim was so narrow (approx. 75cms) that in order to maximize the use of the fabric, the jeans manufacturer had to weave all the way to the edges, which were consequently bound. Non-selvedge denim’s edges are not crisply finished and thus can easily fray. Whereas with selvedge denim, the edges are nicely bound (hence “self-edge”), diminishing the likelihood of the ends/edges unravelling.
SAURER looms made in Switzerland and American DRAPER looms keep weaving this beautiful fabric in Italy and other countries. The pace of production is slow even today; because the shuttles keep weaving until the thread finishes and a new one enters, every once in a while splices can be found on the edges. Plus, the fabric is subject to a larger percentage of imperfections due to the nature of the production but widely accepted as a product’s feature by the industry players.
The denim purists will use the selvedge denim in raw state in order to maintain the true spirit, and the Japanese were the pioneers in exploring the commercial side of the concept; that is why nowadays the Red Selvedge Denim atmosphere is so linked to Japan. Meanwhile, the concept went global and cross-cutting collections of prestigious brands from different segments, resulting on a current high demand of the product.