As it relates to getting dressed, formality is easy. If we think of the etymology of the word “formal,” it makes sense: you adhere to a form, meaning there are relatively few decisions (and, therefore, errors) to make. This logic holds true even with suits, but as we get more casual, the lines blur and things get more confusing.
Terminology changes, too. Since we’re now in full-fledged fall, custom denim is a must-have for our now-casual lives, so we thought it germane to talk about fading – specifically, what is honeycomb fading?
What is Fading (or Blasting)?
Fading – sometimes referred to as “blasting” – is the intentional discoloration of a garment, which is nearly always a denim garment. Those of us with clear memories of the 1980’s and 1990’s may remember this at its most extreme. The phrase “acid wash jeans” is enough to conjure up sartorial PTSD for many of us.
For those into raw or selvedge denim, pre-faded jeans miss the point. Raw denim will, with time and wear, develop their own fade patterns based on your how you move throughout the day.
We achieve blasting with various washing techniques during the manufacturing process. It’s quite common to use pumice stones to this end, which makes sense when you consider the term “stonewashed.” The process is naturally irregular and produces a slightly different result for each pair, which is true with both ready-to-wear mass manufacturing and made-to-order, one-off manufacturing.
Honeycomb fading got its name for a simple reason: the result resembles a honeycomb. We try to avoid terms like “always” or “never,” but it’s safe to say that honeycomb fades are always on the back of the knee. Given all the bending that occurs on that part of the pant leg, it makes logistical sense.
Jeans with honeycomb fading have a much more casual appearance to them than jeans with no blasting, or even just some light whiskering in the front.
Blasting & Custom Jeans
As we mentioned above, the results of fading differ from garment to garment. The difference between ready-to-wear and custom, in this case, is that you can choose the specific location and degree of blasting you prefer. We had a blast with a client who wanted a super unique denim jacket. We worked together to select exactly which sections of the jacket would have fading, and how much. Take a look below at the blueprint we made to see the level of detail we get into: