Monday, 25 May 2015

DIY: the vintage 90s denim trend

Clockwise, from top left: Drew Barrymore, Reformation jeans, Topshop shirt via Ebay, Kate Moss for Calvin Klein, Ragged Priest shorts via Vinted

It's not easy for the ethically-conscious consumer to keep up with the demands of fast fashion and it's ever-changing conveyor belt of trends - especially as being 'truly' ethical almost always involves creating your own individual style and making the best of what you already have, rather than buying something new. So it makes a interesting change when a trend comes along that's easy to put a sustainable spin on, as well as one that looks like it's going to stick around for a while in various forms. I'm talking of course about vintage denim, which has seen a boost in popularity since the emergence of the Phoebe Philo-led 'Normcore' look a couple of years ago, and is now a key component of both the 90s grunge and 70s boho trends.

Fashionista recently published an article on the rebirth of Levi's as "the 'it' denim brand du jour", a title regained by the company as consumers start to tire of skinny jeans, the "ubiquitous silhouette of the last few years", which has now begun to "look uninspired — just pair after pair of the same thing." Customers now want something that will set them aside from everyone else and allow them to express their own individuality - enter companies such as Reformation and Re/Done, which alter vintage denim Levi's into modern shapes and styles, achieving a personalised, one-of-a-kind product which still retain their authenticity and originality. By re-purposing existing garments rather than creating new ones, these brands also have the added bonus of being sustainable, as they are helping reduce demand for raw fibres such as cotton, which is extremely labour- and water-intensive.


The great thing about the vintage denim trend, however, is that you don't have to pay a premium price point for a personalised product - just recreate it yourself for next to nothing! Sites such as Ebay, Vinted and Twice (see above) all offer second-hand clothing at bargain prices, which you can make your own through a few simple tweaks at home, such as adding slits to the knees or cutting off the bottom of your jeans for a 'raw hem' - check out A Pair & A Spare's many blog posts on customising denim for more ideas. Your local charity shop is also a great place to start your vintage denim search - look in the men's section for oversized shirts and then simply tie in a knot with some high-waisted tailored trousers.


Over a third of the environmental impact associated with a pair of jeans comes from consumer care - meaning that if we washed our jeans ten times before washing them, rather than the average 2.3 wears, we could reduce water usage by 77%. Join the BF+DA's campaign #10Wears1Wash (see this great post from The Note Passer) which aims to draw attention to this important issue by June 17th, which is World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought. Your vintage denim has survived this far - help it live even longer by washing less, in cold water and turned inside out, which will help save on both water and costs.

What are the best places to find vintage denim that you've discovered? Have you got any tips and tricks on customising vintage denim to make it your own?

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