Selvedge is one of the most rare and prized ingredients of denim. It is the coloured border that is sometimes found along the outer-leg seam of a pair of jeans and which is only visible when the cuff is turned up. More generally it is the technical term for the uncut edge of a piece of fabric. When fabric is produced on traditional shuttle looms, the selvedge, consisting of a larger number of warp threads that can also be different colours, forms along the edges and thereby makes the fabric more resistant.
This textile technique is synonymous with great prestige because it is the product of weaving on antique looms that are only about 75 cm wide, unlike modern industrial looms which have a width of over a metre and a half. Due to fabrics with a selvedge being narrower than industrial fabrics, it takes twice the amount of fabric without a selvedge to make a pair of jeans, thereby adding great value and exclusivity to the finished garment.
Up until the mid-1950s, all jeans were cut from semi-handwoven denim. Following the introduction of large industrial looms, selvedge became extremely rare and only reappeared on jeans after 1980, thanks to a few Japanese niche manufacturers which started to use the weaving techniques used for fabrics in the past. Later, big Western brands, like GAS, also began including premium product lines with selvedge in their collections, designed and dedicated to true denim lovers.