Frequently Asked Questions
Due to Brexit, and issues outside our control we are not currently shipping to Europe. This is to avoid disappointment, inconvenience and unexpected duties to our customers there. We are extremely sorry and hope this will be rectified very soon.
When you are choosing what size to buy, generally from Hawksmill you can select the true size you require.
We do sell the length with a little extra added – you can read the actual raw measurements in the size guide.
Our jeans do not have added stretch – they are 100% cotton.
We produce three different fits:
Slim Taper - contemporary fit with low rise and narrow leg opening.
Loose Taper - a classic 5 pocket relaxed fit jean with tapered leg and mid length rise
Straight - a classic fit, with authentic fifties style. It suits most body shapes and has a slightly higher rise - between a medium and high rise.
Each style has a size guide on the website with detailed measurements for waist, thigh, length, rise, leg opening etc. For example, if you have quite muscular legs, the Loose Taper will likely be a better fit than the slim taper cut.
If you would like some help choosing the size or fit from our range, we offer a free phone or email consultation. No pressure to buy of course. We are always up for a chat about our jeans and denim in general. Please drop us an email at enquiries [at] hawksmill.com to arrange one.
You can also find detailed advice from Heddels on selecting your size of raw jeans at https://www.heddels.com/buying-first-pair-raw-denim-beginners-guide/
This depends if they are made with denim that has been sanforized or not.
We mainly sell sanforized denim, which means the denim has been treated to so that it is ‘pre-shruk’ to minimise shrinkage when washed. They will shrink less than unsanforized, but will still shrink a bit, say up to 4%. Through wear, the waist will pretty much stretch back to its original size, but any length lost, won’t.
If your jeans are made with unsanforized denim you could expect them to shrink around 5-10% all over after the first wash.
If you want your jeans shortened to a particular length, it’s risky to make the chop before their first wash as they may shrink shorter than you want. We really recommend you wait until after they have been washed.
It’s also worth adding that most jeans can be expected to stretch or give a bit through wear. This totally varies depending on the amount of wear, the fit, the denim, the activity of the wearer and many other factors.
Yes, as with any raw denim, it may do – up until its first proper wash you can expect some colour transfer from the jeans. You might experience the classic Smurf (blue) legs, and beware that some indigo colour can transfer onto lighter fabrics if it comes into contact. Watch out with light colour sofas, trainers etc - specially if either jeans or the other item is damp. After a cool wash this will happen less. If you have cream leather seats for example, you’d be advised to sit on a blanket or cool rinse wash your jeans before sitting on them directly.
We are proud that our size offer is wider than most other brands including many high street shops and multi-national brands.
We usually offer up to 9 waist sizes and now 3 leg lengths where possible – that’s 27 different sizes per style. We offer ‘in-between’ sizes.
We usually offer 28”, 29”, 30”, 31”, 32”, 33”, 34”, 35”, 36” in waist size.
We are now offering 30”, 32”, 34” leg length options.
Take a look at the size guide for each style to see the actual measurements for each size.
We are really sorry if we do not stock your size. We are a very small independent, self-funded business and we can only produce within our financial, storage and production abilities.
Sometimes, due to limited quantities, we cannot offer the full range of sizes in a certain product. Especially when we produce in small batches using rare or old fabric.
We recently introduced a 30” length following demand from customers. We also recommend some selvedge specialists below, who can shorten and hem your jeans using Union Special machines.
Please wait until after your jeans’ first wash before shortening them or taking them in – especially if they are made in Unsanforized denim as they will shrink in the length following the first wash.
If you want your jean leg shortened, we recommend going to someone with a vintage Union Special machine to replicate the authentic chain stitch that we use on the hem
The machines are old and rare but there are a number of denim specialists around the country with them.
Rivet and Hide in London actually have one of our old Union Special machines, and we highly recommend them. rivetandhide.com
The Denim Doctor thedenimdoctor.co.uk is based in Manchester and also offers a great postal service. They have a Union Special machine.
We thoroughly recommend The Denim Doctor thedenimdoctor.co.uk who are based in Manchester and offer a great postal service. They specialise in alterations and repairs on selvedge denim. They do amazing repairs on common wears such as crotch blow out.
We love seeing how years of wear and repair add to the character of each pair of jeans. Take a look at images online of people’s repairs, including Sashiko mending. For most denim heads, wears, fades and repairs are a badge of honour and add to the beauty of the jeans.
Ask for recommendations if you need to stay local. Some dry cleaners also offer repair services, but may not be denim specialists.
We are trying to be as ethical and sustainable as we can. With every new product and design we are improving more.
We make ‘slow fashion’ in small batches, meaning no wasted stock. All of our products are designed to be worn year after year – not just last, but to actually improve with wear. We select fabrics that should last well and improve with age – by this we mean fades and patinas that we think will look amazing. Details and production techniques are aimed at making them durable.
In terms of style – we make classics that won’t date or go out of fashion as they aren’t fashion.Our clothes are not trend based. The styles are classic and designed to be worn year after year.
The fabrics we use are 100% natural fibre, which means they can be recycled or upcycled at the end of their current life. (As there is not yet a simple or viable way to separate mixed fibres - e.g. where cotton is mixed with man-made fibres such as those used to add stretch in jeans or polyester in jersey). It also means they won’t shed plastic micro-fibres into the water system when they are washed or worn, which is a huge and growing issue. They are also biodegradable (once things such as any non-biodegradable buttons and zips are removed) at the very end of their life.
We are using organic cotton where possible – all of our jersey collection is organic, and we have worked with one of the world’s most innovate and sustainable denim mills to produce an exclusive organic selvedge raw denim. We are also looking to source other natural fibres that are even more environmentally friendly when they are available to us. All of the yarns used for making our fabrics come with certification for being responsibly grown and produced.
We often use deadstock fabrics - forgotten ends of old rolls of amazing fabrics that would otherwise be unused (hit us up if you have any cool rolls of old fabric lying around).
We use Corozo buttons. These are made from a nut that is harvested when it falls from ancient natural rainforests, helping to preserve the forests. The harvesters are paid a living wage. The buttons are biodegradable. They help protect elephant herds. Our UK supplier plants trees to offset any carbon from shipping the buttons here.
We only sell raw jeans, meaning they haven’t gone through chemical or manual treatment to fade or distress them. This means a lot of water is saved in the process, and no harsh chemicals are used, which can be a serious threat to the environment and people around the factories. Hand rubbed denim can also harm workers with dust.
The factories that we work with are in the UK or Europe. They are small, established, family run businesses that really look-after and respect their workers. We visit them regularly and we trust them. They share our outlook of constantly trying to make their business more ethical and sustainable.
We are always looking out for ways to improve our sustainability, and it’s one of our major considerations when we are selecting fabrics etc. We are always happy to hear from ethical suppliers that would like to work with us.
Because we only make in small batches, we don’t produce excess, so we don’t do sales. (We occasionally sell our samples at sample sales in London with some of our friends - follow us on social media to find out about these).
This is probably Hawksmill’s most frequently asked question
Our advice is to keep an eye on your jeans and to gently wash only when needed, and to make sure you do wash when needed. This is more important than following any prescribed timetable of wear / wash etc. as it is completely different for every wearer, depending on their use, fit, needs and many other variables. If you want to have your jeans taken up or adjusted, PLEASE wash them first as they will shrink a little, particularly in the length (the waist will give after washing through wear). You may also choose to give them a light wash if you need to avoid colour transfer (light colour seats etc).
Caring for raw denim jeans is a bit of a balancing act: washing them means some of the deep indigo colour will wash out (meaning less contrast between the areas faded through wear and the remaining darker indigo colour), but not washing them when needed means risk of real damage to the actual fabric threads leading to holes and ‘blow outs’.
Raw denim gurus Heddels say “if you’re ever in doubt, you should probably wash your jeans”. Washing means using water and suitable detergent.
For this, we will assume that you want your jeans to last you for years and to slowly develop some nice deep contrasts and fades in places and for your jeans to not wear holes in prematurely.
We agree with the advice to not want to wash your jeans too much or too harshly – simply because you are washing some of the deep indigo colour out and won’t get so much contrast with the faded areas. Most people advise to wear them ‘for as long as possible’ (particularly before your first wash) before you wash them, as the longer you can wait, the deeper the contrast in the fades.
BUT crucially, when we say to wait ‘as long as possible’ it doesn’t just mean until they look or smell gross, but to keep a proper eye on them. Whilst we tend to wash most of our clothes far too often, washing does more than just get rid of visible dirt and smells. Tiny bits of dirt and grease can add to the wear of clothing, partly by adding to abrasion (rubbing). This can greatly contribute to issues such as crotch blow out (where a small abrasion turns to a small hole, then gets bigger and bigger in the groin). So keep an eye on your jeans, if there is an area where they rub or crease especially which is wearing quickly and causing threads to break – it’s probably time to give them a gentle wash. You can try spot washing – that’s hand cleaning the area that’s dirty or rubbing, or you can soak them (don’t forget some indigo will likely seep out and could stain a bath, albeit usually temporarily ) or you can machine wash on a gentle (low spin, turn the number down), cool wash inside out.
This should be cool water, they should be inside out. You might want to give them a gentle hand wash concentrating on the place they are particularly wearing. A machine is OK as long as it is cold (no more than 30) and the spin is set low to avoid lots of creases caused by the machine and to minimise it knocking out the hard-earned creases you created through wear. Obviously, don’t stick them in with your lights wash – they will stain other stuff blue.
The drying process is important too. Don’t tumble dry them. Don’t tumble dry them. Don’t tumble dry them. Also, don't wring them (don't wring any clothes you like - you'll damage the fibres forever). Hang them to dry out of direct sunlight and heat but take the time to try and best straighten out the small random creases from washing and help put them back into their natural shape (don’t pull out your wear creases). You might want to do this a few times whilst they are drying.
We don’t recommend dry cleaning for various reasons.
What about freezing your jeans? Um, there are is much better uses for your freezer space - (hello vegan sausage rolls) and not really any science to support this method of stopping your jeans from smelling: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/the-myth-of-the-frozen-jeans-129092730/
What detergent should you use - a nice gentle one. We will soon be doing a blog on some of our favourites.
A lot of this advice goes for most of your favourite items of clothing. You can make them last longer, look better and save a lot of water and energy if you don't over-wash your clothes.
There is so much advice out there on forums and denim websites but our top advice is to keep an eye on them. The very best denim in the world can still wear out quite quickly if not looked after.
We are a duo with a long background in menswear, vintage clothing, retail, design and production.
Tony Smith is a clothing and accessories production and design consultant. Starting out 24 years ago on Saville Row with Ozwald Boateng, and going on to work with many leading British heritage brands and manufacturers.
Donna Sibley started working in fashion retail 23 years ago. Mainly working in menswear and vintage clothing.
The two of them founded the British menswear brand, Thread in the early 2000’s, and sold it via the UK’s leading independent stores for years.
Both have a passion for vintage products that have stood the test of time in their durability, use and style.
They share an ethos of designing and making product to last, working with good people, buying the best quality materials you can afford and not hurting people or the planet.
Yes, Tony Smith has been a design and production consultant for over twenty years. He has worked with many brands in the UK including Burro, Folk, YMC, Stussy, Levis, Orlebar Brown, Lyle & Scott, Bella Freud, Richard James.
He works with the very best factories in the UK, Europe and the world. As well as denim and all areas of menswear, Tony specialises in designing and producing footwear and accessories collections.
Please email us if you are interested in our consultancy services: enquiries [at] hawksmill.com