An Edmonton student wore the same pair of jeans for 15 months without washing — in the name of fashion, and science.

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Josh Le, a student at the University of Alberta, wore the same pair of blue jeans for 15 months to test the bacterial count on the raw denim. ((John Ulan/Canadian Press))

Josh Le, who attends the University of Alberta, wore the skin-tight jeans from September 2009 to December 2010 to see how dirty raw denim jeans could get without washing.

Raw denim jeans have no chemicals traditionally used to treat the material.

Le also wanted to personalize the jeans and determine how they would mould to his body.

At the end of the 15 months, Le swabbed the jeans for bacteria. He then put the garb through a washing machine, after which he wore the jeans another two weeks before re-testing.

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And the results surprised Le and his professor, Rachel McQueen.

"They were similar," McQueen said of the bacteria count of the freshly washed pair, compared to the prewashing levels. "I expected they would still be much lower than after 15 months."

In all, there were five kinds of skin bacteria in the jeans, and mostly in the crotch area, where between 8,500 and 10,000 bacterial units per square centimetre were found. However, McQueen said because Le was healthy, with no skin problems or cuts, there was no health concern.

Controlling odour was a different concern, Le said, admitting the jeans began to smell after a few months.

He solved that problem, however.

"I triple-bagged them and put them in the freezer," he said.