What goes into a pair of jeans? Most of us, though we wear jeans on a near-daily basis, don’t give much thought to jeans terminology, but for the folks at Edwin who make denim wear their business, every thread of a pair of jeans has a particular name attached. Some of the elements of jeans have names with which we’re familiar. There’s the brand patch, such as Edwin on the back of the waistband, which displays to the world what jeans we wear. Never has the design and development of jeans been so complex and well thought through.
The rivet, or the metal stud found at stress points, was originally developed to reinforce the area’s most likely to tear with wear–and although newer techniques in sewing have rendered the rivet obsolete for functional purposes, it still appears as an aesthetic part of many jeans designs. Belt loops and coin pockets are commonly recognized jeans terms, and (although they don’t make an appearance on many modern models) even the suspender or braces button needs no explanation.
Some less widely recognized jeans terms, however, include the martingale or cinch. This was a feature of many jeans in the early 1900s, but largely dropped out of usage with the addition of the now-common belt loop added first to Levi’s 501 jeans beginning in 1922. Cinches can still be found, though mostly in children’s jeans to adjust for growth. The riser or yoke is the top piece on the back of the jean, which provides different shapes and curves to the seat of the jean (and of course its wearer).
Arcuate is a jeans-industry term for the detailing in double-stitchery, most often located on a back pocket of a pair of jeans, and further identifying the brand in addition to the brand tag. Another form of modern marking is referred to in the industry as ‘whiskering’, the deliberate fading, in whisker-like patterns, around areas like the knees that show creases of wear after usage. Manufactured wear along the fronts and backs of knees, around the pockets and hem, and down the side seams is referred to as Atari. And a form of fading wear specifically named by the Japanese industry pioneered by Edwin is the tate-ochi, a specific name for a singe faded white thread in an otherwise indigo weave. Once the mark of vintage jeans, the tate-ochi, like other forms of “wear” can now be manufactured before the jeans are ever worn.