Clothes Fashion

When Mending Gets Trending: Recycled and Upcycled Patchwork Jeans

By Chantal Brocca

What is that one item of clothing, that life central, can’t live without, beat all expectations gold nugget – even on a fat day – that somehow look just as good on you as it does on a well seasoned trucker with a farmer’s tan? JEANS. Everybody needs jeans – even the old school ones that feel like they’re made of straight up molding plaster. They give the appearance of a behind that stretches all the way from right behind your armpits, but that’s just part of the charm.

Your favorite pair survive the inevitable periodic wave of wardrobe cleansing, nestling comfortably between that one bra you bought in 1997 that actually fits and that quirky designer something you bought only because the snobby shop assistant gave you that ‘H&M is that way’ look. Why? Do you have hoarder’s syndrome? No, actually, one could argue that you are practicing the art of living with less: one pair of jeans and a million and one outfits. I have worn one particularly butt hugging pair to hike (before you glance at your yoga pants, this was before athleisure), to a smart casual evening, to a very elegant evening, in a dance competition, to McDonalds and probably every time I had a work interview where I was asked to ‘look professional but not too professional’ and ‘show the right amount of personality’ (side note: jeans did the trick but my jokes did not).

When TopShop skinnies came around and hi-jacked our brains it looked like we were never going to let them go. All other jeans might as well get recycled into tote bags. But lo and behold – the vintage Levis came back, and we all learned to fall in love again with waistbands that don’t stretch and denim that doesn’t feel like lycra. But for those jeans that still linger in the wardrobe, true unwanted victims of fashion trends and body changes, never fear: you can recycle them. Because Upcycled Patchwork Jean are a thing now, you see.

Hippies gave us the first nudge in the right direction when they re-appropriated the bad boy rebelliousness jeans embodied in the 50’s by sewing on mismatched denim and printed fabrics amongst sectioned cartels of flower embroidery and psychedelia in a mass attempt to bring them  into the realm of a sort of peaceful anarchy – but now the look isn’t just for those who want to roll around on grassy hills and listen to Hey Jude.

Whether you’re hankering for jeans over jeans, woolly blends, the ‘ripped and fluffed’ or tassled ends, patchwork jeans have gotten weird, recycled and upcycled. Not only – but denims have gone up and beyond jeans to invade every line in the lexicon of women’s dress. Surely somewhere in there, there’s that one pair here for you that’ll stick.

Sonas Denim

The inspiration behind this line of cruelty free jeans came from one fateful pair made up of vintage multi patches that survived nine editions of Burning Man. Intrigued?

Upcycled Patchwork Jeans

Andrea Crews

Not sure how this happened but it did, and it looks so damn good I could cry. Playful, colorful, unisex – the label wants to shake things up and by the looks of it, it did. Andrea Crews uses unwanted clothing and finds new, exciting ways to fashion them. Trash into trashy treasures.

Upcycled Patchwork Jeans

Nathalie Ballout

More than just patchwork, these upcycled jeans have been entirely ripped to make space for large segments of leg to peek through, elaborate wiring and denifur – which are small sections of denim ripped and fluffed so as to appear as fur, in case you didn’t know. Could be my new favorite thing.

Sofia Metsoviti

For those looking for denim with a soul. Flattering tailoring and vintage values, the kind that don’t wear off. Upcycling at its finest. Plus, there’s a whole new denim collection on its way.

Ivy and Toot

Cute, classic and patched to perfection, this feminine eco brand brings you a relaxed Aussie lifestyle in the form of recycled denim.

The Autonomous Collections

Every collection an evolving perspective of nature vs. man, Australian designer Kim Stevenson takes up a thoughtful approach to both design and process, ensuring the ethical and sustainable meets wearable youth culture. Nothing is left to chance, choosing photographer Charlie Burgio for her latest collection Clouded, known for conveying important messages through every image.

Re/Done

As they like to remind you, this is not a denim brand – it’s more of a luxury fashion movement with the goal to freshen up the luxury space through individuality and sustainability. Taking apart and putting back together the stories embedded in repurposed vintage Levi’s denim, you’re to find modern fit with unique personality.

Stella McCartney

The patchwork doesn’t stop at the bottom half of your body – the world’s leading vegan design Queen also does killer denim bags, but I’m sure you knew that already.

 

Tortoise

In line with the label’s sustainable vision, whiskered and frayed denim is made entirely in eco friendly cotton, perfectly imperfect to fill your street style desires.

 

Mud Jeans

The label is on a mission to reduce waste, and offers consumers multitudes of ways to join in – leasing, upcycling, and recycling returned jeans are all part of concept of circular economy. Obviously, every time theres upcycled denim, there’s cool patchwork.

Kings of Indigo

American classics, Japanese eye for detail: that means awesome cuts with an eye for sustainable innovation and lasting wear.

Not a Brand, Just DIY

Rather make your own? Check out this video, below. Pretty easy way to recycle old jeans, right?

Chantal is the girl behind Underneath My Silk, a thought catalogue on fashion, culture and style. Follow her on Instagram here.



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