The crucially important Production Methods class many of us took as ID students could only cram three or four dozen processes into a semester (and as you can see here, we've tried to post about as many of those processes as possible for those of you without ID educational backgrounds); so it's no wonder that most of them were confined to metal- or plastic-working processes. But ID encompasses soft materials like fabrics as well, so we're always on the lookout for those gaps in our curriculum. Reader Kat sent us a link to this video revealing the manufacture of a material most of us wear, the denim that goes into jeans:
The video is beautiful to watch, but a little frustrating in that there's no explanatory narrative illuminating the specific steps. Thankfully Cool Hunting's Josh Rubin has provided some explanation so we can sort of tell what the heck is going on:
The [video] shows the fabric come to life as huge scans of simultaneously selected thread move through the denim production process and into massive vats of 100% pure indigo dye. Whipped around like salt water taffy the denim strands are eventually woven together to form brilliantly dark raw denim weighing in at 14.5oz per square yard--which actually swells to 16.25oz after a hot water soak. Described by Self Edge as simply a "tough fabric," the new Roy denim is dyed with the darkest indigo Cone to produce a unique wash that'll only evolve with age.
While the Japanese are arguably the world's denim masters, the footage above was shot at North Carolina's Cone Mills, and that's no ordinary denim they're making: It's a custom blend designed by Roy Slaper, the man behind Roy Denim. Slaper thankfully decided to keep his materials manufacturing in the United States, giving Cone Mills—which has been producing fabric since 1891 and is one of the U.S.'s few remaining denim mills—a much-needed production shot in the arm.
The fashionistas among you will have heard of Roy Denim and distributor Self Edge. For those that haven't, here's a pretty awesome video on Roy and what he does, almost entirely with vintage industrial sewing machines that he's acquired and repaired himself:
Earlier we showed you a video on jeans being mass-produced in a factory. That footage is well-narrated and explains the process well, though we definitely prefer watching Roy go at it with his machines.