I want you to come on a little journey back in time with me. As a kid growing up with a brother and two step-brothers, I was a huge tomboy. You were more likely to catch me climbing up a tree than having a tea party with my teddies. As I entered my teens, I became interested in makeup and skincare but the tomboy traits definitely stayed put. Jeans were all I wore and they were pretty much my style signature, so much so that my young and impressionable niece only wanted to wear jeans or denim skirts because that’s all she saw her favourite auntie wearing.
Even as a uni student in the ’00s, my jeans were practically superglued on. But I graduated from high street finds to proper denim brands. I became somewhat of a connoisseur. I’d find out what brands my favourite celebrities were wearing via magazines or forums (remember those?) and hunt them down on eBay. My favourite brands back then were Paper Denim & Cloth, True Religion and Seven For All Mankind. eBay was the only place I could afford to buy my brands at a reasonable price, it was about 50% cheaper than RRP so I became an expert at working out my size based on fit and measurement details and my attention to detail for spotting fakes was almost obsessive. I was basically the Hercule Poirot of denim shopping.
During a very short stint in a telemarketing job during the uni holidays, I even helped a colleague hunt down half a dozen pairs of jeans on eBay after she asked for recommendations because she loved my jeans so much. Looking back, I really should have charged a commission for my personal shopping services!
Eventually, as with all love affairs, I eventually grew tired of denim. Partly because fashion started to move away from denim which dominated the industry in the ’00s and partly due to work dress codes. Working in a professional environment meant that sometimes jeans were outlawed at work. I spent nearly 4 years working at Harrods, jeans (and sneakers) were absolutely not allowed in the office, even though denim was seeing a resurgence and premium denim brands were once again super desirable. This is around the time Vetements created their controversial $1,000 jeans! But I just didn’t see the point in investing in a pair of jeans if I wasn’t allowed to wear them for 42 hours of the week.
This changed last year as I said goodbye to the world’s most famous luxury department store and hello to a new role in the sneaker world. Jeans and kicks were back on the menu. I started to dip my toe back into the world of denim, first starting with some high street favourites. Topshop jeans are a fashion editor staple so I bought a couple of classic pairs then picked up a couple of pairs from the likes of Zara and Whistles.
Fast-forward a year and my familiar denim-obsessive ways are back. I’ve fallen in love with denim again and willing to invest in a decent pair which lasts – as great as high street jeans are, they always end up losing their shape and are rarely made of good quality, rigid denim. While the likes of Paper Denim and 7FAM are still around, there are SO many new brands I’m like a kid in a candy store. A well-informed kid with Google at her fingertips and an appetite to learn before making a very well informed decision. But this time, instead of just sharing my knowledge with a colleague, I’m going to share my top five denim brands to buy right now!
Launched in SS16, GRLFRND was founded by the team at Revolve. The jeans are designed and made in LA and the brand features 10 key silhouettes. I really like the range of silhouettes, washes and details of each pair. They are also the brand I’m wearing in this shoot. I’m wearing the Karolina, which basically makes your ass look incredible. I went for a classic blue wash but hunted down the permanently sold-out style which has a little slash under the buttcheek. Because I’m a little cheeky like that.
Describing itself as a movement, RE/DONE was founded by Sean Barron and Jamie Mazur with the aim of keeping heritage brands relevant and creating sustainable fashion as well as focusing on individuality. What does this mean in practice? They take vintage Levi’s and repurpose them, hence the name. Jeans are taken apart at the seams and put back together again in a new silhouette so needless to say each pair is unique.
I know you know Levi’s but this wouldn’t be a list of denim brands that you need in your life without the grand dame. Founded way back in 1853 in California, Levi’s are a classic symbol of All-American style. I recently rediscovered Levi’s when I was on the hunt for the perfect pair of denim shorts. Exasperated by high street brands which made my booty look as flat as a pancake, I popped into Levi’s. I shimmied into a pair which the sales assistant recommended and I’m pretty sure I heard angels singing when I pulled up the zipper and buttoned the fly. My butt looked pert, round and perfectly peachy. Sold. They are the best pair of denim shorts I have ever owned.
AGOLDE is a recently relaunched 90s denim brand founded by Jerome Dahan, the king of denim who also founded 7FAM and Citizens of Humanity. They also put a contemporary twist on classic denim styles, using fabrics sources from around the world and developed in LA. As with most 90s brands, the vibe is very irreverent, anti-fashion and slightly rebellious.
The founders of Frame, Erik Torstensson and Jens Grede, are actually in the branding game – they co-founded superstar brand agency Saturday and have no designer credentials. This didn’t stop them from conquering the denim world though, Frame is one of the fastest growing denim brands in the world. With supermodel fans such as Karlie Kloss and Lara Stone, it’s no surprise that their jeans are perfect for that nonchalant, model off-duty look.
Photography by Adorngirl.