Create your own one-of-a-kind jeans

Learn how your denim can tell a story ...

Our “virgin to vintage” philosophy celebrates how fabrics transform from unwashed jeans into love-worn pieces. You begin with raw denim and gradually wear them in, slowly creating your own one-of-a-kind wear pattern that’s fully unique to you.

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DENHAM virgin jeans after 1.5 years of wear.

What is virgin denim?

Virgin denim has been dyed and woven, but hasn’t undergone a pre-wash. Simply put: when it came off the loom, it was immediately cut and sewn into jeans without any distressing or washing.

Up until the 1970s, most jeans were made from virgin or “raw” denim. Today, most jeans are made with denim that’s already been washed during to shed ink off the fabric and pre-shrink it.

Virgin denim has a deep blue indigo colour with a slight shine, and is pretty stiff when you first put it on. Over time, it moulds to your body’s shape and develops individual fade marks and patterns.

Your unique wear pattern…

Every pair of virgin jeans becomes completely unique and personalised over time. The whiskers, honeycombs and fade lines are fully authentic and reflect the life the jeans have lived. Yes, it takes yeas of dedication to break in a pair of virgin jeans, but the end result (aka the “wear pattern”) is pretty darn awesome.

Use the slider to compare the virgin, unwashed jean with how it looks after 1.5 years of wear.

Jason Denham

Founder and Chief Creative Officer

“I’ve always had a passion for raw denim, or ‘virgin’ denim as we call it. I first discovered this type of denim about 20 years ago on a trip to Japan, and I fell in love with it. When you start with beautiful virgin denim, you’ll gain the best natural wear patterns and results.”

Josha Roymans

31, Product Designer

When did you become interested in denim?

At the end of my teenage years, when virgin denim first started to become popular. I bought a pair, but only later I became interested in what they actually were. I already had a dislike for big brands that only cared about quantity. For everything I buy I want it to last forever – whether it’s watches, jackets, jeans, or furniture that I make.

How did you discover DENHAM?

I moved to Amsterdam in 2007, and when DENHAM was founded in 2008, I immediately liked it because it all suited me: high quality, nice detailing, the whole identity of the shop and what they do.

Your favourite DENHAM jean model?

I only wear one but I’ve had multiple pairs of it: the VJS (Virgin Japanese selvedge). I’ve bought some, worn them in, and traded them back with Jason. This pair I’ve had for about seven years, wearing them about half of the time.

What do you like about DENHAM jeans?

I want to keep all my clothes for as long as possible. I only want high quality and that’s why I wear DENHAM. The jeans aren’t cheap, but they are full of details and are super nice quality. They last a long time and the designs are timeless.

Why do you like virgin denim?

The colour and the feel. I have always disliked pre-washed denim since I know how it’s produced. Every denim is made as a virgin jean, then factory workers tear them up … so you’re buying them halfway through their life already.Virgin denim makes more sense to me. When I have a new pair, I wear them straight for a year, more or less everyday.

How many pairs of virgin jeans do you have now?

I always have two or three pairs on the go – one virgin, one vintage, and one in-between.

What’s the coolest characteristic on your jeans?

I have a constant itch on my left shin, so you can see the deterioration on the fabric, where I itch the same spot, over and over.

How often do you wash your virgin jeans?

In the past I almost never washed them, but now I do more often – sometimes once a month, and sometimes every other month. I started wearing the jeans to my work at Neef Louis. Because I work with epoxy, sanding and gluing, the jeans get really dirty with grease and oil, very quickly.

How many times have your jeans been repaired?

Clinton has fixed them almost 30 times already … now they’re like an antique!

When was the first time you washed these jeans?

The first time, I was working with epoxy and I got some on my jeans. It smells really bad, so I HAD to wash them to get it out! Then I waited another year with no washing. I went to a festival, and at that point I realized I had to wash more regularly.

Your advice to any first-time virgin jean buyer?

Don't sit on a white couch!

Robin Meijerink

28, founder of Robin Denim


Photos by Eduard Nijgh

When did you become a denimhead?

It all started about five years ago when some friends convinced me to buy a pair of raw denim. At first I hated them because I spent a ton of money on an uncomfortable pair of jeans! But after a few weeks of wearing the jeans they became more comfortable; from that moment on, I’ve never worn a pair of washed jeans again.

How did you discover DENHAM?

Right after I started to wear raw denim I became friends with a guy who used to work for DENHAM. He showed me all the nice collections and from that moment on, DENHAM became one of my favorite brands. Especially Clinton, my favorite tailor, is one of the reasons to visit DENHAM!

What’s your favourite DENHAM jean model?

For me, it has to be tight and connected to the legs — so my favorite models are the Bolt and the Razor.

What’s your DENHAM virgin model?

Denham Upgrade, Regular Fit. The fabric of this particular pair of jeans is made by the Japanese denim mill Kuroki.

Why do you like virgin denim?

Raw denim is magical! Every stage of the evolution has its own charms. I really like the rough and crispy feeling of a new pair of jeans, and it only gets better from there. The other cool thing about raw denim is that it’s very personal. No one on this planet can create the same fades that I do.

How often do you wash your virgin jeans?

I never wash my jeans within the first year — I wait as long as possible to create high contrasts. After a year, I wash my jeans once every six months, but only if necessary.

Why did you cut your jeans into shorts?

I really like to travel, and I needed a pair of jeans that I could wear in 35 degrees. I’m not one of those crazy guys who can wear a pair of 20 oz. jeans in the middle of the summer. This pair of jeans has accompanied me to slums in Uganda, the rice fields of Bali, the islands of Thailand, and many more beautiful places.

We hear you’ve sea washed these shorts?

Yes, when I just started to wear raw denim I read about sea washing. This pair of jeans has been sea washed twice: once on Nusa Lembongan in Indonesia and the second time at Koh Phi Phi, Thailand.

What’s the craziest thing you did while wearing these shorts?

I had the chance to dive with a manta ray, but I’d forgotten by swimsuit … so I decided to combine a sea wash with one of the most impressive experiences I’ve ever had!

Outside of denim, what’s your favorite hobby?

Travelling is my number one favorite thing to do. It isn’t just a hobby, I really NEED to travel. I need to discover other cultures, eat foreign foods and see the most beautiful places on every continent. Every time I come back in the Netherlands I already book my next flight — when I don’t have a trip in my prospects, I can’t function.

Do you have any advice for a first-time virgin jean buyer?

Denim reflects the lifestyle of the wearer, so just do what you like to do. My only advice is to wait as long as possible before the first wash, to create nice contrasts.

Share your journey

We want to see your wear pattern! Post your photo on Instagram and tag it with #virgintovintage for a chance to be featured here!

Meet DENHAM's repair artist

We catch up with Clinton James Topley, repair artist at the DENHAM Service Co. (and bona fide denim enthusiast), for his insights on virgin denim.

Why do you like virgin denim?

When I sell someone virgin denim, I see it as the beginning of a relationship and not the end of a sale. Virgin denim is a blank canvas, and every individual is his own artist.

What’s the most common reaction from customers who purchase virgin jeans?

People don’t always get it at the beginning, until they take the jean away and begin the journey. They get really connected to the jean.
From my side, I get to see the denim mature — and the customer mature with it. I love to see how their understanding becomes apparent.

Why are virgin jeans your wardrobe essential?

There aren’t many clothing items in the world where you can get such a personal touch with them. For me, a leather jacket and virgin denim are two essential pieces. The connection that people get with those products is like nothing else I’ve seen.

The washing process

You don’t need to wash your virgin jeans every week – in fact, every month is too often! We typically recommend you wait six months between washes, which gives you time to break in the fabric and develop your own bespoke wear pattern.

But be warned: virgin jeans should only be washed by hand. It not only saves on water and detergent, but the spinning of a washing machine can wear out the fabric faster. Hand-washing is more gentle, and allows you to treat quality products with the care they deserve.

How to wash

Lucky for you, we offer a hand-wash service at our stores with a Service Co. This laundry treatment will gently remove the build-up of dirt and dust from your jeans. We only wash them inside out, which keeps wear patterns intact and removes dead skin cells that accumulate inside (gross, we know). Our hand-wash is also the best way to ensure your jeans retain their dark colour, as it typically doesn’t remove much indigo.

Each wash service includes an inspection of the jean, so we can identify any areas that may need wear-and-tear repairs. Following the wash, jeans hang-dry for two days in the perfect temperature, which leaves them feeling clean, fresh and crisp.

Your local DENHAM store team will happily give you personal wash advice based on the denim fabric and wear history.

Alternatively, click here for a tutorial on how to hand-wash your jeans at home!

Year-by-year: what to expect

Three years of wearing virgin jeans, as told by Clinton James Topley.


For the first six months you’ll need to break-in the indigo. Only after six months will the denim start to have some change; that’s also when you’ll want to do the first wash. It’s important to shift the dirt off the cotton, to make sure it doesn’t rip. In the first year you may need small repairs, but that’s typically minimal. “The most common repair on jeans in Holland is on the crotch, from all the bike riding,” says Clinton.


“This is when the magic starts to happen,” Clinton says. “You’ll start to see the colour move; whiskers and honeycombs begin to appear, as the fading process begins.” After 1.5 years you’ll want to do the second wash. Most often repair work is needed on the pockets, where keys, phones and wallets start to wear down the material.


Now we’re talkin’! Your jeans will have moulded to your body and faded out, so they’re perfectly worn-in. This is when you’ll need more heavy-handed repairs on knee and pocket rips. (Because you’re losing more indigo, the cotton becomes whiter and more brittle.)

Start your journey!

So, ready to take the plunge and buy some virgin denim? Welcome to the club! Shop our latest arrivals below.

  • Razor Slim Fit Jeans - VCSS Razor Slim Fit Jeans - VCSS
    Virgin Jeans
    Slim Fit
    Razor Slim Fit Jeans - VCSS


34, Dentist

When did you become a denim head?

My wife used to work for DENHAM, which is how I first heard about it back in 2008.

What do you like about DENHAM?

The quality of the Japanese products, especially the virgin denim. I like having contact with Clinton, who repairs them by hand.

Your favourite DENHAM jean model?

I used to wear the Bolt VJS, but DENHAM doesn’t make that style anymore. I also wore the 5 Year Anniversary 2-dip for a while. Currently I’m wearing a Japanese Razor, which is a numbered collectors item.

How often do you wear them?

At work I have to wear white, but whenever I’m not at work I’m wearing the jeans, all the time. I can wear them for about three years, every day. Most of the time I have two pairs of jeans in rotation: one new and one worn-in.

Why do you like virgin denim?

It’s about the evolution of the jean. The more you wear it, the nicer it gets. Every scratch and every hole has a story behind it. My jeans become vintage very quickly because I have small kids. I crawl with them and play in a sandbox, so that wears them in very fast. I love how the spots in my knees they remind me of when I was playing with the kids.

How often do you wash your virgin jeans?

I try to do the first wash after a year, then every six months I soak them — always in a bathtub and by hand.

Favourite hobby?

Family, music, and collecting (and drinking!) wine.

What’s your advice to any first-time virgin jean buyer?

They will be your favourite jeans once they get worn in. The jeans will adjust to your body, so they are much more comfortable than pre-washed jeans. They don’t stretch out too much, and they get softer with wear. You’ll see after about six months, they are worn-in and amazing.