All The New Denim Brands You Need To Know
The Debrief: Learn these names. Right now.
Denim hasn’t traditionally been the most innovative part of fashion – I mean, there’s a reason why pulling on a pair of skinnies is the lazy girl’s instant outfit solution. But now that we’re all falling in love with flares, patchwork cut-offs and delightful DIY pom-pom trim jeans (seriously, try it), there’s never been a better time to branch out beyond Topshop Baxters and try some new denim designers. These are the labels we’re seriously lusting after now.
You know how some labels are just so underground that nobody knows about them for years and then all of a sudden everyone from Rihanna to Kylie Jenner is spotted in their clothes in the space of a week? That’s 69 Worldwide. The Los Angeles-based brand has been quietly peddling its brand of cool, slouchy unisex denim since 2011, but has only just started getting major attention. Kylie and Riri both favour the baggy, ultra-comfy Night Shirt/Dress, FYI.
What I really love about 69 (other than the actual clothes and the saucy name, obv) is its low-key, come-one-come-all approach. Its stated aim is to make “comfortable shit for everyone” and it casts models of all sizes, ethnicities and ages for its campaigns. And the designer behind the brand stays anonymous, preferring to keep the focus on the clothes and its freewheeling philosophy.
After graduating from Central Saint Martins and working for Jeremy Scott, Parisian designer Faustine Steinmetz bought her own handloom and started making her own jeans. By hand. She still does – and in the process, she elevates denim to something truly beyond your regular skinnies. In her last autumn/winter collection, she slashed and frayed the hems of her garments and digitally printed sketchy trompe l’oeil stitching lines onto trousers. The result? Sophisticated mom jeans that you could actually wear on a hungover Netflix day without actually looking like, well, a mom. Little wonder that she’s been shortlisted for the uber-prestigious LVMH Prize this year. If you’re looking for the new Marques Almeida, this is it.
This unisex London label has picked up a huge amount of buzz, even though founder Melissa Clement only set it up in 2014. In fact, its whole backstory is a pretty heartwarming of homegrown talent. After realising that girls were increasingly opting for boyfriend cuts and boys were stealing women’s skinnies, Clement saw a market for a denim brand that blurred the boundaries between two genders. Instead of going the traditional fashion route, she ended up asking the public to help fund her venture on Kickstarter – and she raised over £12,000 in the space of a month to get it off the ground. Awww.
Bethnals’ refreshingly sturdy, unfussy line of jeans really does deliver, if only in the simplicity stakes: everything is sold at two price points, £75 for the basic denim and £125 for luxury selvedge. Given that a pair of premium jeans can go for hundreds, I know which one I’d prefer.
Warning: if you’re used to feather-light denim fraying and girly silhouettes, Ximon Lee’s work can come as a bit of a shock. Think oversized, boxy sculptural shapes that layer denim with neoprene, and even plastic and cardboard. The result is more architecture than fashion; you definitely wouldn’t want to get on a tube during rush hour in one of his sandwich board-sized denim coats. This Parsons graduate is pretty new – he only just made his New York Fashion Week debut at the very cool VFiles show – but he’s definitely one to keep an eye on. Even high street brands are sitting up and taking notice: H&M awarded him its much-coveted Design Award this year, making him the first menswear designer to win the prize in its three-year history.
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