The luxury denim trend that is more ethical than you think

Feature image Vetements street style | Getty

A denim trend has emerged that is not only challenging the reign of the skinny jean but is, at its heart, ethically produced. Led by cult French fashion house, Vetements, reworked denim is the fast becoming the most sought after trend in luxury fashion and on the high street. Since their fall 2015 show, retailers have barely been able to hold it’s stock, despite their hefty $1,450 price tag. Using second hand denim to deconstruct and rework the jeans into new pairs, Vetements have created iconic silhouettes that are transcending the seasons.

But this thrifty trend wasn’t necessarily an intentional design feature. Head designer Demna Gvasalia told Vogue US; “In our first season, because our quantities were just [too small] for a factory, we had to rework existing vintage pieces and put them on a new shape, which means that there was almost a double amount of work involved.”

Double back pockets, faded dyes and frayed hems have become iconic design features that have been replicated across the high street and picked up by young brands. With everyone from Asos and Urban Outfitters to sustainable, L.A based, Reformation, are introducing reclaimed and reworked denim into their collections. Reformations ‘cropped slim’ style are made from vintage Levi's 501 that have been chopped and altered to create a pair that are better than new.

Reformation Vintage Cropped Jeans

Vintage Levi’s, for all the history and uniqueness that they hold, are LA based, RE/DONE’s sole material. Unstitching the pairs at the seams, they use the pre-loved fabric to repurpose into a new pair of their own. “Like a fine wine,” RE/DONE believes “the Levi’s denim only gets better with age” which is what makes their jeans so special. They simply cannot be replicated for the mass market. Using water conserving methods, without harsh chemicals and manufactured in Downtown Los Angeles, RE/DONE put sustainability on their agenda, alongside producing a beautiful product.

RE/DONE Downtown LA factory @shopredone

Upcycling or regenerating jeans isn’t a new concept. French brand, A.P.C.’s ‘Butler Program’ has been around for years. Exchanging unwanted, broken in jeans for a new pair for half the price, A.P.C. then breathe new life into the old pairs; washing, mending and marking the initials of their former owner makes the new-old jeans ‘truly unique’.

Arguably one of the first brands to reinspire the use of denim on the catwalk, Marques Almeida’s aesthetic has challenged how designers use the material and could well have been an influencer of Vetements’ lusted pairs. Raw, frayed edges, layering, over dyed and distressing has been a staple since their birth in 2010.

Marques Almeida SS12, AW14, AW16

Whether your bank balance can stretch to a pair of Vetements or you are DIY-ing your own jeans, the best thing about this trend is it’s experimental nature so is accessible to absolutely everyone. No waste and maximum style.