The guys behind the masters of heavyweight denim, Iron Heart, refer to themselves as “the stubborn crew”, and if you have any experience with Iron Heart denim you will know that this could not be a more appropriate moniker.
In the two HWDC contests Iron Heart were by far the most popular brand, outnumbering their closest rival (Samurai) by around two to one, which is even more incredible when you consider that the Iron Heart signature 21oz denim is actually treated to slow colour loss. This strange mix continues as Iron Heart are a brand who have not really concerned themselves historically with being “made to fade”, their model has always been to achieve the most solid and durable construction with the best available materials, the issue of fading has not even been on the table for Iron Heart until quite recently, but it seems as though things are beginning to change.
In 2011 Iron Heart released and 18oz raw denim for use on their Beatle Buster and Devils cut, this denim was quite a departure from signature 21oz as firstly it was raw, and secondly it seemed to lose indigo with an almost reckless abandon. Shortly afterwards they released a 21/23oz raw denim for an anniversary model of the flagship 634 model, a true golden straight cut. The new heavyweight raw denim, recently renamed UHR or “Ultra Heavy Raw”, produced some incredible results in the contest which the brand held and proved so popular with customers that it has been resurrected several times since, including for the upcoming Denim World Championships.
Now I don’t want to give the impression that only the raw denim fades, the standard 21oz is more than capable of some fantastic results but it is not for the inactive or the impatient, especially if you are looking for fading in a relatively short space of time to be a part of denim experience. To truly fade a pair of sanforised 21oz Iron Heart is an exercise in patience and endurance, you will be rewarded for your efforts, and we have seen some amazing results from jeans made of this denim and worn for the 24 month contests, just don’t expect it to happen overnight. The best examples of heavily worn 21oz Iron Heart are those which have simply been worn without concern, by people living their everyday lives, where the jeans have almost been allowed to evolve by accident and where the change is slow and natural. There is an advantage to being the masters of heavyweight denim though when it comes to fading, and it is definitely a weight issue.
For HWDC2 Iron Heart produced a 25oz version of the Beatle Buster cut, and we have been fortunate enough to see a few of these evolve over a two year period into some quite beautiful jeans. Much of the thanks for this evolution can be given to the sheer weight of the fabric and thickness of the threads used to weave it, with the density of the material working against it in such a way that it has definite potential to produce simply stunning results in a small space of time and to go on mutating for many months and years to come.
It’s a strange thought that the most popular brand in denim contests is one which does not seem to really pay much attention to such superfluous distractions as fading or contrast, and instead concerns itself with craft and endurance above all else. Never forgetting that the full name of the brand is Iron Heart – Motorcycle Specialities, a clothing brand designed by a biker, for bikers. With this in mind it is perhaps not such a surprise that these are jeans that really know how to take a serious beating.