Layman’s Guide to Denim Jean Finishes

Jeans are subject to a number of finishes and each is meant to create a certain feel or style. Distressed denim is one of the most common, though comes in a range of finishes as anyone who has ever gone jean shopping will let you know.

One thing that people generally don’t consider when they purchase distressed jeans, whether they are Levis or Edwin jeans – is that many of these distressed jeans have gone through a large number of washes and in many cases this can be up to 25.

This results in the jeans not lasting as long as they would if they were brand new jeans that have not had this distress placed upon them.

However, that said, there is a lot to say about many of the great additions and finishes placed on jeans and they really make this clothing stand out. So, let’s look at some of the more common finishes placed on jeans and how they are achieved.

Enzyme Wash

This wash will create an old fashioned or antiquated feel to the jeans and uses chemicals to break down the fibres. This will cause a loss of the dyes involved in the jeans and so creates a vintage look. However, as it does not use abrasion, this process ensures that the jeans do not suffer the same way to do with a stonewash. It creates the look but doesn’t take away from the life of the fibres or the jeans.

Stone Wash

Of course, stone wash is a different way of creating that older look and it involves stones, just as you would expect from the name. This process uses stones to break down the dye and the fibres and creates that lighter look and distressed feel that many of us long for. Stone washing can take place on all jeans though the degree to which it is performed varies and also makes for different effects on the jeans. Bleach is often added to the process to speed it up and different sized stones are used to give different effects. It’s one of the harshest abrasion techniques, but also one of the most common.


This proves ustilises a tiny amount of tint and aids the garment in changing colour. This makes for additional shades and tones in the fabric and is often something added to Diesel and Edwin jeans to create that dirty look that many people like in their jeans. Brown dyes are used in this process to make this dirty look a reality.


This is the removal of the dye where the natural wear happens and will usually appear in the form of creases. The crotch area and the bottom are quite common places for jean’s companies to try and achieve this look. It makes the jeans look older and gives them that antiquated look. It is also a difficult process to get right and in lower priced jeans it looks obvious and far from natural.  

Jeanstore offer a great range of Edwin jeans in a variety of styles and finishes.

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