Designer denim can be tricky. High-end labels such as, say, Chanel or Céline can’t stray too far from their core aesthetic—or their core price points—often creating jeans that end up costing consumers hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars. Still, a new generation of young designers are using denim in ways we’d never thought possible, possibly justifying the splurge. Here, 10 to know right now.
By now, you’ve undoubtedly seen It-girls, street-style stars, and models-off-duty rocking the cult-worthy, of-the-moment Parisian label Vetements, which makes a very specific pair of jeans that are everywhere right now. They appear to be classic at first, but at second glance, you can see misplaced seams, Trompe-l’œil fading, and raw edges. The denim minis, too, have been seen on style stars like Chiara Ferragni.
UK-based Ashish has turned out denim pieces worthy of red-carpet events (or least really, really fun parties). Think: embellished and embroidered styles cut in oversized shapes or unexpected silhouettes. Or, in the case of a former collection, pairs of ripped boyfriend jeans covered in gorgeous sequins.
The French designer, based in London, has always been about reinterpreting denim. Think: thrift store jeans recycled with a loom; micropleated denim; and sculptural jean jackets, dresses, and tops that make the everyday staple anything but basic.
Milan-based Fausto Puglisi puts a major focus on denim throughout his collections. Bleached out jeans, denim jackets, skirts, and Canadian tuxedo options get a cool rework with lots of embellishment. Whether it’s an all-denim outfit, or a look that uses just a touch of the materials, his pieces are also covetable.
While still widely under the radar, New York–based designer Claudia Li experiments with denim in new shapes and forms. In fact, her most recent collection consisted of almost all denim pieces. Paired with preppy white tennis shoes, the conventional pair of jeans was turned on its head with the addition of sculptural bows and wider legs.
New York designer Daniel Silverstain makes experimental denim his mission. With the addition of silver metallic sleeves and tweed, he also mixes high and low materials. In terms of denim, he reimagines half-sleeves, jackets, and even button-downs with the fabric.
Off-White has the kind of cool qualities fashion rebels like Rihanna gravitate toward. On the denim front, think: jackets worn (purposely) backward, repurposed lapels and material seen attached to other shirts, and Canadian tuxes embellished with shiny trim. Designed by Virgil Abloh and shown at Paris Fashion Week, there’s definitely a streetwear influence present.
As the daughter of denim innovator Adriano Goldschmied (of AG jeans and Diesel), Los Angeles–based designer Marta Goldschmied takes boring old jeans to the next level with her label, Made Gold. Her most recent project? A collaboration with London-based artist Yuki Haze, pictured above. Goldschmied found Haze through Instagram, and the rest was history. Goldschmied also formerly tackled the idea of “workout denim,” meant to be worn to the gym, in previous collections.
Thank Marques ‘ Almeida for fashion’s current (and, now, mass) obsession with raw edges on denim. The London-based designer has used the technique on everything from tops and dresses (seen en masse in fast-fashion stores such as Zara and Forever 21) to skirts and pants. His pieces are sculptural and unexpected with pleats and wide, comfortable shapes.
Chitose Abe, the Japanese designer behind Sacai, hasn’t experimented much with denim before her pre-fall 2016 collection. But her clothes are well loved by It-girls and fashion-show front-rowers, so it makes sense that she’d take on what’s known as possibly the most well-worn staple. She did so in the form of patched-denim overlaid jackets, raw-edged jeans, and, one of our favorite ways to make denim more exciting: mixing different washes. We’ve never seen the everyday staple look better.