OK, time to get back to more denim! Lately, I’ve been so excited to see the great strides being made in the sustainable apparel world, especially in denim. It’s still not quite to the point of being mainstream, but it’s pretty impressive how many brands, old and new, have been working hard to make this a widespread reality. Awareness of the importance of moving towards a more sustainable society is growing among consumers, and although there is suspicion that many brands may simply be feeling the push to maintain a competitive status, I know there are also several who are right on board with those consumers.
So it’s been about a week and a half since my favorite event on the face of the planet: Lucidity Festival. For those just tuning in now, I am inspired so much by all of the independent apparel vendors at conscious festivals, especially this one! Since I started this blog writing about denim, it can be a difficult transition to mix a lot of these styles into my blog (although I’ll write about any of them that truly fit my style, as there are truly tons of great ones out there), but sometimes I find gems…handmade and sustainable brands that also use denim! One of these small businesses is one I saw last year at Lucidity and I was happy to see return to this year’s is Kinetic Couture.
Before all of the stretchy, form-hugging, legging-like jeans of today, rigid (100% cotton) denim dominated the market. These vintage pieces, as well as jeans that are inspired by them, have once again re-emerged onto the market over the years as super stretchy fabric technologies exploded to compete against the growing activewear industry. Not everyone jives with those stretchy fabrics, and vintage denim has spawned quite a strong cult following of sorts. Brands like Levi’s and their new 501 Skinny, as well as brands like RE/DONE which revamps pre-loved Levi’s jeans into modern fits, have helped bring rigid denim back into the mainstream, and other premium brands have taken notice. 7 For All Mankind is one of those names that excelled in the super soft, stretchy and lightweight fabrics, most notably with their introduction of their b(air) Denim line in 2016. However, big name brands like this stay on top for a reason: they know it’s important to move with demand and stay open to new innovations. So with that said, I am excited to see a few brand new rigid styles by 7 For All Mankind!
Skinny jeans have gone through many phases over the years. Originally, jeans had minimal to no stretch, and were made as workwear with a more relaxed fit. They were made to be tough! Despite the fact that the stretchy jeans of today, which were created in part as a response to activewear becoming ultra popular (and giving denim a run for its money), were a huge hit, vintage denim is still preferred by a significant amount of denim fans. Jeans with some stretch definitely prove to be a better and more comfortable fit in most cases, but denim fabric technologies over the years has blurred the lines between jeans and leggings which has turned out to be quite the love/hate ordeal. I personally love a lot of my super soft stretchy jeans that I could take a yoga class in, but after trying a few 100% denim pairs myself, I have to say I get it. A lot of people don’t want skin-tight, figure hugging jeans, and like the durable feel of thick cotton denim.
I’m so happy to see the huge strides being made for sustainability in the denim market! Awareness is growing, both with consumers and brands themselves, about how important it is to reduce the toxicity and wastefulness that is inherent in garment manufacturing. Denim is a nasty process, from the pesticides used in the cotton to the toxic chemicals and water wasted in the wash process that makes those pretty fades we love when we shop for the perfect pair of jeans. G-Star RAW has been one of the leaders in the industry. They’ve worked with Pharrell Williams a few years ago to convert plastic floating around in our oceans to beautiful apparel, created a documentary with i-D illustrating the impact of plastics consumption on our oceans, and created a collection of jeans using only natural dyes. Continuing to plough forward full steam ahead, the brand has now unveiled a collection featuring their most sustainable jeans ever.
As mentioned earlier with my post about Hudson’s awesome new arrivals, it’s so fun to see what these premium denim brands come up with each season considering the denim market is so incredibly competitive and saturated nowadays. The creative ideas the best designers can conjure up with a material that most people find to be quite basic is so inspiring to see (and probably why my denim collection will never stop growing). Even within specific trends, it’s so rad to see the brightest minds stay afloat with fresh takes over and over again. Patchwork is one of those trends that’s not quite new, but it always feels like it is because of all the cool new styles that come out every year. I’ve written about patchwork several times, like with my review of Sonas Denim and the Pedal Star skinnies by Closed a couple of years beforehand. While this trend goes years back, it never really feels overdone. I never feel like it’s commonly revisited, despite how fun it is.
I don’t believe Hudson needs much of an introduction, but for those who may be new to the denim game, these guys have earned their street cred. As a veteran brand that’s been around for pretty much as long as other household names such as 7 For All Mankind or True Religion, they’ve staked their claim by constantly reinventing themselves, and I am always liking what I see in every release. For me, Hudson is one of the best brands to truly accentuate the booty, with curvier fits (especially in their signature bootcut models) and well-placed back pockets. The premium denim market is seriously saturated and extremely competitive, so it’s very difficult to stay afloat and come up with new ideas on a regular basis. However, the brand has once again proven its staying power with some new releases that definitely warrant some “oohs” and “aahs.”
One perk of being a style blogger is getting the chance to try (and collect) a wide range of denim. You kind of have to be a little obsessed, and because of that, there are very few brands I have not tried (or don’t yet have a pair from). It’s definitely fun to see how your body shape works with different brands, so when you do choose to purchase a pair later, it’s such a convenience to know which brand and size to go for. One brand I actually can’t believe I have not gotten my hands on yet is Madewell, especially considering all the crazy accolades I’ve heard come from their devoted fans. Many of these premium denim brands promise the perfect fit, and many of those are correct…but since bodies come in so many different shapes, this can still be tricky. Madewell is a brand that I’ve heard amazingly positive things about in the fitting department, and I can’t wait to try them (FINALLY…it’s been what, just about 5 years since I started reviewing denim)!
When I’m choosing an interesting new pair or line of jeans to either shop or write about, I’m always looking up the obvious brands: AG Jeans, 7 For All Mankind, Joe’s…you get the idea. I don’t write much about the bigger designer or couture brands, both because of their lack of focus on denim and because their price ranges are a bit far out of my reader’s hands. However, every now and then something new or cool comes out from one of these companies that I just have to share, at least because it’s interesting to see what’s out there! I like all kinds of creativity.
G-Star RAW has been a pretty consistent subject here on my blog. No only are they an impressively high quality, innovative leader in the denim world, but they also take some pretty awesome steps when it comes to sustainability. They are best known by their iconic Elwood 5620 jean, which is constructed in a way you’ve never seen any jean put together before—with 3D detailing and tough but structured and comfortable denim. The brand celebrated the 20th anniversary of this jean last year, and I had the opportunity to review a pair! This wasn’t the first time I had a taste of the Elwood, as I also reviewed a beautiful moto pair, the Custom Slim Tapered, and my first review I ever did for Denimology (or ever), was the G-Star Type C Loose Tapered 3D Jeans. I’ve always enjoyed everything I receive from this incredible brand!