Selvage denim is carefully woven on old-fashioned shuttle looms that use one long, continuous thread. Once the thread reaches one side from the other, it loops back, creating the selvage stripe on each side. The contrast thread on the stripe, known as the selvage ID, is a way mills would identify their product and method, a tradition that continues today.
All denim used to be selvage, but the booming demand for jeans and denim in the ’50s meant jean makers needed a faster, more efficient method to meet demand. They switched from a shuttle loom to a projectile loom. In the late ’70s and early ’80s, Japan became obsessed with denim. Japanese brands started scooping up old shuttle looms and producing selvage denim themselves. Denim enthusiasts all over the world began looking to Japan for the best selvage denim.