I have said this before: I love denim. Of all things in the menswear sphere, nothing is quite as American or as global as blue denim. Every time I put on a pair, I feel as if I am traveling the world in some way.
With a resurgence in demand for authentic indigo dyed selvage denim, every fashion label, has their own offering. However, I still have a hard time calling jeans that line the racks at Nordstrom truly authentic. There are of course top teir American made denim manufacturers like my favorite boutique Imogene and Willie, but their prices make their products elusive to most (and as a new graduate student ME!). There are of course selvage options at Gap and Uniqlo, but these lack the pedigree of quality selvedge denim fabric, so desirable options at a below $100 price point are almost non-existent, until now.
Mik Serfontaine has heard the woes of broke denim enthusiasts everywhere, and has graciously delivered Brave Star Selvage. The company offers American made (really American Made, from fabric to manufacturing) selvage denim at a bargain price starting at just $79! If this were not enough of a selling point, I have some absolutely mouthwatering details to sweeten the deal.
Unlike the options available at Gap or Uniqlo, Brave Star uses premium selvage denim from the famed Cone Mills in North Carolina; denim that is only rivaled by the best Japanese selvage on the market. Holding the panels of denim together is classic orange A&E thread, stitched using vintage Singer machines with all the hardware sourced locally from Kentucky. Like I said, this is Americana at its finest.
Brave Star checks all the right boxes, but the most important question remains: how do Brave Star’s stack up in fit? I am generally very skeptical of buying untried brands online due to the ambiguity of the sizing, and of course before picking up a pair of wardrobe staples I had to be certain. Here is where Mik’s fantastic personalized customer service really shines. I gave Brave Star a call, and Mik was able to walk me through what size I ought to order, based on preferences of denim weight and what I usually wear in other brands.
About a week after I ordered my jeans in the Skeleton Skinny fit, they arrived in the mail with a hand written note (yup, hand written and signed!). This is not necessarily the most important thing when shopping for clothes, but I personally enjoy brands that have a human touch associated with them.
I usually like my raw denim to be snug to start off so that once they are finished breaking in, I get the perfect fit. My new jeans were cardboard -stiff and snug as hell when they arrived, but after about a week of wear, the fit felt spot on.
Unlike most other jeans that I have worn, Brave Star’s have double stiching on the inside thigh. While I admit that this probably holds up better against wear, I generally prefer single stitch. Single stitch makes for a more flexible leg and sits a bit better than double stitch. This is however completely a preference rather than a problem with the design and many reputable brands offer double stitching.
My only real quibble with Brave Star is the button fly. This is one very small area where I personally feel that things can be improved. Currently the fly buttons are placed too far apart. This means that in the time I spent breaking the jeans in, the fly looked stretched, which of course is not a good look. The problem went away after about a month of wear, once the denim is broken in, but I think this would never have been an issue had Brave Star either had more buttons or places them closer together. I personally would also have liked buttons that feel a bit less generic i.e. stamped or in some other way made to look more authentic, but at this price point that might be a bit too much to ask.
To sum up, with one minor design flaw, Brave Star is offering a fantastic, premium product at a very affordable price point – one that I love to wear every day. So whether you are a denim fanatic or new to trying raw denim, Brave Star belongs in your closet.