What Is the Meaning of Premium Denim?

By Sterlin Mosley

Premium denim has become a popular term in the fashion industry and can be intimidating for the average shopper, who may be unsure of the difference between premium denim and regular denim. Understanding the differences between so-called premium denim and standard denim can help you make more informed decisions while shopping. Occasionally the differences may be merely cosmetic, while some premium denim products may actually boast longer wear and more bang for your buck.

Premium denim encompasses a wide range of characteristics.

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Premium denim is often heavier than other types of denim due to being relatively untreated. Because of the lack of treatment at the outset, premium denim jeans often have more vibrant denim color and thus can be treated more heavily in a process called destroying or aging. Lighter denim fabrics cannot withstand as much stylistic "destroying" and therefore may wear out faster than heavier denim fabrics which can withstand more distressing or destroying. However, as a consumer you will pay for this heavier, more durable jean stock -- hence the higher price of premium denim jeans.


Many premium denim jean labels boast stylized stitching throughout the product that set it apart from "non-premium" brands. Some brands have made a career out of their distinctive stitching on the pockets by utilizing a specific color thread that distinguishes that denim brand from standard denim. Many of these products have reinforced stitching that helps the jeans to stand up longer and resist the seam breakage that some jeans can begin to exhibit with age, adding to the increased price for premium denim jeans. However, not all premium denim jeans are made the same so it's important to exercise discernment when shopping for them.

Trendy Labels

Perhaps the most distinguishable characteristic of premium denim jeans is the labels and the people that wear those labels. Labels like Seven, Paige, True Religion, Rock and Republic and Citizens of Humanity are premium because they have built up a reputation amongst the trendy elite as fashionable. Once a pair of jeans appears on a high profile celebrity or on the pages of a fashion magazine, the brand has the possibility of reaching premium status. So, as with most fashion, the trendy labels may fall in and out of favor depending upon the seasons of changing tastes.


Most people want jeans that fit well and premium denim jeans promise a contoured fit that you cannot find in standard jean labels. Premium denim jeans are cut to contour the body in ways that supposed "regular" jeans cannot. However, there are a variety of well-priced non-premium products that have begun to produce jeans that seek to compete with the high-priced premium labels. In many premium labels everything from the pitch of the jeans to the yoke is precisely manufactured to create a fit that is both flattering and fashionable. In addition most premium labels manufacture a variety of fits to cater to different body types.