These upcycled patchwork jeans brands illustrate beautifully why mending is trending
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 hijacked 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 tasseled 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.
Upcycled Patchwork Jeans Brands We Love
1. 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.
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.
3. 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.
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’s denims are exemplary when it comes to sustainability. She’s using not only organic cotton to make them, but even upcycled fabrics, too. Oh, and the patchwork doesn’t stop at the bottom half of your body – the world’s leading vegetarian design Queen also does killer denim bags. But I’m sure you knew that already.
They call themselves the ‘world’s first ecoluxe denim brand’ – and who are we to disagree?
In line with the label’s sustainable vision, their whiskered, patched and frayed denim is made entirely in eco-friendly organic cotton, perfectly imperfect to fulfil all your street style desires.
7. Mud Jeans
This jeans brand makes all kinds of styles – including upcycled patchwork jeans, of course. They’re on a mission to reduce waste, and offer consumers multitudes of ways to join in. Leasing, upcycling, and recycling returned jeans are all part of concept of the circular economy they employ.
American classics, Japanese eye for detail: that means awesome cuts with an eye for sustainable innovation and lasting wear with this upcycled patchwork jeans brand. We love the fact that they’re using water-saving techniques and organic cotton to make their denims, too.
Fashion designer Manon Planche has created an upcycled denim collection that’s a colourful celebration of craftsmanship, uniqueness and creativity.
The brand is all about circular fashion, and more: female empowerment, diversity, body positivity, slow and responsible fashion, authenticity, happiness and love!
Not a Brand…Just DIY
Rather make your own? Check out this video, below. Pretty easy way to recycle old jeans, right?
Image 1: Sonas Denim Image 2 LozDesigns worn by Sam Frew photographed by Terence Bogue