It has been a little over 9 months since I first met Matt Baldwin, the creator and owner of Baldwin Denim, at NortherGRADE. He and Daniel Cummings made sure I went home with a few pairs of The Reed, their classic straight leg, cut from 12.5oz yellow selvage, produced at Cone Mills White Oak Plant and sewn right here in the United States of America.

The denim has been breaking in great and after 9 months of daily wear, I felt it was time for The Reed’s to get their first bath. A normal person would have turned the denim inside out and tossed it into their washer, but not me. I had The Reed’s accompany me on my recent trip to the low country for a good soak in the Calibogue Sound.

The outside temperature was a warm 85 degrees, but the waters of the sound were a stark contrast, holding steady at brisk 62.  I waded into the water with The Reed on my body, making sure to watch out for any errant jellyfish or run-away crabs.  Once I was chest deep, I started with the deep knee bends and took a few handfuls of sand from the bottom of the sound, rubbing it all over and working the sand into the fabric of the denim.

As I emerged from the water I repeated the exercise again, making sure to get the sand and salt into the fibers of the denim.  This was their first bath and I wanted to guarantee every square inch was given the royal treatment.

After the final low country sand scrubbing, it was time for a final rise.  In place of me wading back into the sound, I sat along the shoreline and allowed the waves to knock off the layers of sand I had so meticulously worked into the denim.

To make sure The Reed’s would be a true custom fit, I wore them until they were almost completely dry.  They were still still damp when I took them off and tossed them up onto a sand dune for their final drying in the sun.  Once dry, I hung them over a piece of driftwood, allowing the South Carolina coastline breezes to freshen them up and make sure any smell from the previous 9 months of wear was gone.

I have been back from the low country for little over a week and the other day I pull The Reed’s from their shelf and they fit great.  The whiskers and distressing from the sand and salt bath are more visible and any ‘funk‘ they might have had is long gone.  To many this washing process is crazy and over the top, but they way I look at it, for every pair of Baldwin Denim I own, they come included with a week long trip to the beach!



  1. This post reminds me of a great song by The Walkmen called “Donde Esta La Playa”. There’s a line in the song…”there is still sand in my suitcase…there is still salt in my teeth”. Hopefully there’s a bit of sand still in the pockets of those Baldwin’s to remind you of that trip every time you wear them. And speaking of “low country”, I love Tybee Island where a Miller High Life is the perfect drink to wash down a spicy bowl of low country boil. Leave the golf clubs behind in Hilton Head and go south next time you’re out that way.

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