1) What are the many differences between blue-line selvedge denim and your regular run of the mill denim?
The 16oz blue-line selvage denim that Tender’s jeans are cut from is woven in Japan to specifications which give it great potential for wearing in and ageing. The selvage itself is a side-effect of the fabric having been woven with a continuous unbleached long staple cotton weft yarn on a shuttle loom. The blue line is a nod to the fact that some of the jeans go on to be hand dyed with woad: after the jeans have been dyed the white parts of the selvage turn blue, so the blue line disappears, sort of like beer bottles where the logo only appears when the contents is cold enough!
Shuttle weaving gives a looser, less consistent weave than projectile or rapier loom construction, allowing it to soften and adjust to the wearer over time.
The warp yarn is spun at an angle, through a metal ring (ring-spun), which gives a firmer yarn which is less likely to part under stress, but which also has more slubs (or neps) than straight-spun yarn. Slubs show up in the weaving as raised bumps in the fabric, and are revealed as more personality in the fabric.
Finally, all of Tender’s denim garments are constructed from raw unsanforized fabric, so even if the individual piece is washed or hand-dyed before being handed over to the customer, the seams will twist and shrink with the garment, giving it much greater character than if it had been sewn from pre-shrunk, pre-skewed, singed and chemically finished cloth.
2) For you what’s the most significant design aspect of the type 130 tapered fit and what’s the concept behind this?
The Type 130 tapered jeans are an evolution of interpretations of various ideas found in historical workwear and tailoring, combined with practical wearing and construction considerations.
The ‘snob’s thumb’ coin pocket is adapted from the pocket of the same name found on a pair of hand-made silk velvet court dress breeches. The facing sits up above the waistband, so it’s easy to get in to, and sits inside the garment, so it doesn’t get obstructed if you’re wearing a belt.
3) How many hands have these passed through in the creation process?
Every pair of Tender’s jeans are made in England by a husband-and-wife factory. The woad jeans are then sent to be hand-dyed, which is carried out by one lady. I personally then check over each pair and fasten on the solid lost-wax cast button, and pack and label them myself. So four people, or three for ‘unborn’ jeans!
4) What are the main design stages when putting these jeans together?
These jeans were in development for over a year before the first Tender collection of clothing was put together. Since then there have been various small evolutions (button placement, fly construction, pocket finishing), but in general it’s a slower, more product-orientated development rather than just sitting down to design a new garment and sending the sketch off to a factory. A big part of the design process for any of these products is wearing the things myself, for a long enough period that any problems become apparent and can be looked into and fixed. The hand-dyeing is a whole separate experimentation and development process, which runs parallel to the garment design and comes together in the final samples before production.
5) What would you recommend when caring for a Tender pair of jeans? Any special advice for a new owner?
Tender ‘Unborn’ jeans are not washed, and they will shrink down to the correct size with the first wash. After that, the denim will soften up a lot with a bit of wear, but you can expect them to a bit stiff for the first couple of weeks.
Raw denim also tends to be bleed indigo for the first few wears- this is why Tender’s ‘unborn’ jeans are presented in an English-made calico bag. Although the woad dyed jeans have extra woad indigo added, they have been washed after dyeing, so they won’t lose as much colour. Woad dyed jeans have also had most of the shrinkage taken out, so they will not shrink much more.
While all the garments are designed to be worn hard, they should be treated with respect. Tender jeans are cut by hand and sewn with 100% cotton thread, which creates puckered seams with more character than standard polyester thread, but which can wear through over time. The main thing with any denim garment is to not worry about it too much. You can choose to wash your jeans more or less often, and you can try to keep them pristine or patch and repair them. Whatever you do they’ll become more and more personal as they’re worn.
6) Why do you feel people should invest in quality made pieces opposed to mass produced jeans?
Tender’s jeans have been produced with care for the product more than for efficient production and big profits, so there are lots of little bits of attention to detail that you won’t find in a larger-scale manufactured garment. Also because every pair is made individually by the same couple of people, there are little variations between every garment.
Of course it’s a personal choice, but I believe that a good pair of jeans which you invest time in wearing in becomes more and more personal to the point where it feels like more than just another piece of clothing in a wardrobe. I keep all my old worn-out jeans, and they’re some of my most precious belongings.
Some select Tender products are now available to purchase in our online shop.