When it comes to choosing the right pair of jeans, I like my denim to do a little more than simply cover my legs. I want them to be conversation starters. I want them to be outfit upgraders. Most of all, I want my denim to convey a certain mood. Luckily these days, designers are getting bolder and more creative with denim than ever before, and a new batch of brands are setting their bar higher than your average wardrobe staples. These labels aren’t just crushing the competition— they’re infusing surprising details, mixing old with new and breaking the boundaries of what we call jeans entirely.
Denim sales are STILL skyrocketing, and this should come as no surprise to anyone who’s heard of Vetements. This trending name in fashion has been selling out of its $1,500 jeans ever since they took to the Paris runways, and their unique take on the typical 501s has trickled down to Instagram celebs, next-generation denim devotees and retailers high and low.
So whether you’re looking for that next standout pair or just want something a tad bit different, look to these innovative brands below who are changing denim in a big way.
In an age when it seems like everyone is challenging the boundaries of traditional gender lines, it’s refreshing to see a designer like Glenn Martens whose unisex offering of kooky creations represents 50 percent of both his men’s and women’s collections. However, it’s his surrealist denim that’s really starting to pique people’s interest, and trust me you’ll know a pair of Y Project jeans when you see them. Often featuring two waistbands and unsuspecting cutouts, these jeans will make you scratch your head — in a good way.
I discovered this cool-girl label like most of the fashion set have: through Instagram. Trinity Fodor knows how to work a pair of scissors and she makes all of her pieces by hand in Harlem. I’m not talking about your run-of-the-mill skirts and cutoffs, either. Think deconstructed vintage-esque wide-leg jeans with back pockets for knee-patches, patchwork mini-skirts with exposed zippers and tops created out of pant legs.
Italian brand Forte Couture first made its mark with colorful, eye catching fur parkas, but it’s their line of embellished vintage denim, reconstructed for our current obsession with all things decorative, that really got me excited. Accenting everything — from classic jean jackets and pants to chambray shirts — with girly adornments like pearls and lace, this Tuscan label is bringing major pizazz to all of our favorite denim standbys.
Another Instagram discovery I’m proud to have under my belt, Alex Kennedy's denim brand ALXVNDRA offers that popular Vetements look at a fraction of the price. Giving the illusion of two different-wash pairs sewn together, these give you quirky, two-tone jeans with a handmade, local feel and Kennedy makes all of the pieces herself (offered in limited quantities).
Steve J & Yoni P
For anyone looking to step up their denim game beyond your basic pants, look no further than SJYP. This South Korean design duo has long been known for their Hip-Hop-inspired denim and eye-catching streetwear, and our stateside infatuation with all things nineties has slowly brought some much-needed attention to this Seoul-based brand.