Spring Forward by Learning Your Denim Terminology

Christina Panteliodis (pictured) and her twin sister Lea are turning slow denim into hot fashion.

T.S. Eliot said, “April is the cruelest month,” and we assume he was talking about tax deadlines or late snowstorms. But maybe the poet was also a textiles prophet, and he really meant to address the syndrome that some boutique owners and fashion professionals like to call “Old Navy Butt.” 

It’s an unlovely offense that can happen any time of year, but when the long winter coats come off, the problem is more visible. It’s the way so many jeans — any cheap, mass-produced brand, really — can appear to fit nicely in the store, only to slide slowly down as the day wears on, losing shape almost immediately and becoming baggy in the seat and weirdly restrictive everywhere else. 

It’s still too early to declare a revolution, but there’s definitely a movement afoot to restore denim to its durable roots, and a pair of local sisters, Christina and Lea Panteliodis, have built-in brand appeal when it comes to their Twin Denim line. Theirs is a slow-fashion company specializing in “selvedge” denim, an elision of “self edge.” This, says Christina, “refers to the white part of the denim that secures the fabric from unraveling. This was produced on an old-style shuttle loom and became iconic because the ‘self edge’ was usually characterized with a colored thread on the fabric ends.”

Today, those sporting selvedge jeans typically turn up their cuffs to show the telltale line — a way of broadcasting to the world that one’s way of life includes artisan quality apparel. “Selvedge denim is like a second skin,” says Christina. “It requires a break-in period, much like a custom leather boot or shoe. This really personalizes the experience of how you and your clothing can build memories together.

“By supporting selvedge,” she adds, “it also supports the heritage of shuttle looms, by keeping them in demand and producing one-of-a-kind denim.”

—M.J. MacAodh

Twin Denim, West Asheville, on Instagram: @twindenimshop. Twin Denim is a guest of Good Fibrations in Barnardsville (27 Ivan Bridge Road, 828-626-4303, see Good Fibrations on Facebook) for The Weaverville Art Safari Spring Studio Tour that runs Saturday, April 27 and Sunday, April 28, 10am-5pm. weavervilleartsafari.com.

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