2-Year Unbranded Denim Jacket Review – Can Budget Selvedge Measure Up?

The Canadian Tuxedo, Denim Leisure Suit, Ol’ Blue Blazer, the Trucker, Bluniform, Double Denim, or my personal favourite, the Dunville Dinner Jacket. No matter what you call it, we can all agree that denim jackets look pretty damn cool. There are a lot of options out there to complete the Cliff Booth special, and at just $133, the Unbranded Brand UB901 is definitely worth considering. 

The Unbranded Brand is owned and operated by the good folks at Naked and Famous Denim. An interesting tidbit on the brand; Naked and Famous was approached by Urban Outfitters about carrying their product, but they were asked to fulfill an order that was too large for them to accommodate. As a result they developed The Unbranded Brand in order to meet the production and volume demands required for such a large retailer.  You won’t find Unbranded Brand products at Urban Outfitters anymore, but you can still get them at a variety of fine retailers or through their website.

There are some differences between the two that illustrate why they operate as separate brands.  The Unbranded Brand puts all their focus on the fabric, fit and construction in order to provide the best possible product at the lowest possible price.  To quote the website,

No branding.  No washes.  No embroidery.  No ad campaigns.  No celebrities.

 

unbranded ub901 jacket fit

It’s also important to note here that their products are manufactured in China, unlike the Naked and Famous products which are made in Canada (often with Japanese denim). You will also notice the Unbranded Brand catalogue stays more or less the same year to year, while Naked and Famous spends a considerable amount of time developing new products for their seasonal catalogues.  All of these elements help reduce the cost to consumer without impacting the level of quality that is being offered.

As it relates to the UB901 denim jacket I’m reviewing here, you can expect solid construction, high quality denim (raw, selvedge, Japanese, *insert more buzz words here*), and a minimalist design, all at an affordable $133USD.  

[SHOP THE UB901 DENIM JACKET HERE]

The Unbranded Brand UB901 Denim Jacket Fit

  • Longer body length than traditional denim jacket designs
  • Slim fit on the smaller side of your typical tag size
  • Very tight on the wrists

When I was looking for a denim jacket, I knew I wanted something with a traditional look but not necessarily a traditional fit.  I have found that my other jackets sit higher on my waist than I prefer, so I was on the hunt for a denim jacket with a longer length to fit my longer torso.  In addition to my disproportionately long torso, I often wear my shirts untucked and this can look extra sloppy with my shorter jackets. 

How does the length of the UB901 compare to others?  A size medium UB901 has a 27.5” length.  For comparison, other jacket lengths in “medium”s from popular brands available are;

  • Naked and Famous at 23.5”
  • Samurai at 23”
  • Iron Heart at 24.4”
  • Oni 23.6”
  • TCB at 24”.

This puts the Unbranded Brand jacket a full 3” – 4.5” longer than others.   While the jacket fits well and the length is exactly what I needed, the wrists are a problem spot for me.

The wrists fit quite tight.  I have bird-like wrists (do birds even have wrists?), and had to unbutton at the wrists just to get the jacket off and on.  I grew tired of all this buttoning and unbuttoning, so I unbuttoned the wrist for the last time and sewed the opening at a wider point. 

unbranded ub901 denim jacket cuff

Take that narrow cuffs, you’re not the boss of me! This solved the issue for me and took about 20 minutes with a needle and thread.  Not ideal, but it works.

The body of the jacket does have a slimmer, tapered to the waist fit, which is to be expected with the type iii design.   It fits on the smaller side of your typical tag size, so depending on how you plan to wear it, you may need to size up.  I’m a medium in most jackets, and ordered a medium for the UB901.  It fits well but if you are looking to wear heavy layers underneath, I would recommend going up a size from your typical jacket size.  The size guide on their website was spot on with my jacket, so you can measure your best fitting jacket and compare it to the size guide to be sure of fit.  

unbranded ub901 denim jacket pocket

UB901 Features

  • Type iii design
  • High quality raw selvedge Japanese denim
  • Side slash pockets
  • Interior pockets
  • Selvedge blue ear ID on the inner placket
  • Chest flap pockets
  • Contrast stitching
  • 14.5oz Sanforized denim
  • Rope-dyed yarns
  • Dark copper tin buttons

When people think of a denim jacket, it’s often the type iii design that comes to mind.  It’s a nice, tapered silhouette that can be very flattering while maintaining that classic look.  

Traditionally, the type iii would not include side pockets, but many makers have modified this design to include them.  This is definitely my preference so the side slash pockets are a big plus.  Another great feature is that the pocket bags double as interior pockets for items like keys, a phone or even a stack of POGS so you can play against your friends.  The stitching is tidy and done with a copper coloured contrast thread.  The tin buttons are dark copper in colour which fit well with the stitching and understated look. This is currently the only jacket available in their arsenal but I am hoping they will add more options in the future.

unbranded ub901 denim jacket elbows

Unbranded’s 14.5oz Raw Denim

The fabric itself really steals the show here.  A nice 14.5oz weight works well all year round and provides a nice rigid, heavy feel. 

The rope-dyed yarns are a deep, dark indigo and expose a great depth of fading potential from the electric blue undertones all the way to the white core. This is achieved by dipping the twisted yarns in vats of indigo and allowing them to dry, then repeating that process up to 30 times.

The denim is fairly smooth overall but has a slight nep that looks great without overdoing it.  

It comes raw, unwashed, undistressed and is sanforized to reduce shrinkage. In my experience it will shrink a very small amount after a cold wash, but expand back to its previous size. (I was in the pool!) The recommended care is to wash only when needed, with cold water, and hang to dry.  They play their cards close to the chest flap pockets when it comes to which mill weaves the denim, but we do know that it is woven in a Japanese mill on traditional shuttle looms.  Just like rope dyeing, weaving denim on a shuttle loom is a very time consuming process that produces a wonderfully unique, high quality fabric.

The understated design and ethos of the brand really put the spotlight on the denim, which is everything I had hoped for.

unbranded jacket fades
From a well worn in jacket by u/SelvedgeConnoisseur on Reddit

The Unbranded Brand UB901 Denim Jacket Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Unbeatable price
  • Solid Construction
  • High quality denim
  • Longer fit is great if you’ve got a longer torso and works well with an untucked shirt

Cons

  • Long, lean fit may not work for all body types
  • Traditionalists may prefer a shorter fit
  • Tight fit on the wrists

 I have been wearing this jacket for almost 2 years now and highly recommend it.  The fabric competes with others at a much higher price point and the fit provides a nice alternative for those who may like a more modern, elongated option in their wardrobe.

 A big thanks to The Unbranded Brand for doing what they do, and thank you to all of you for reading along.  I may be long in the torso, but hopefully I wasn’t too long in the tooth!

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Jordan Fox

Jordan is a denim and boot enthusiast from Ontario, Canada. He is a husband and father of four, which keeps things busy and puts a lot of wear on his wardrobe! You can connect with him on instagram as @Niftee_Thrifteee or YouTube as Niftee_Thrifteee Jordan.

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