.Distressed denim is a huge trend right now. Whether it’s a couple of slashes at the knee or completely shredded this look is one many brands are offering from Saint Laurent to Bershka. Once seen as reckless and shabby, this style is seen as effortless and looks great when teamed with more tailored pieces. I have worked for the largest denim brand in the world for almost 5 years, so I have picked up some pretty great tips and tricks in how to do this in a few easy steps and I thought it would be great to share with you!
You will need:
- 1 pair of jeans
- Chalk or tape – to mark where to make the cuts
- Extra rough sandpaper
- Rolled newspaper/magazine
Step One: Put the jeans on and bend your knees slightly using the chalk to mark a straight line across just under your knee cap (I have found that rips on knees generally happen just below and not on the kneecap itself). About 6cm should do as over time and general wear the rips will get wider.
Step Two: Remove the jeans (Perhaps have a backup trouser option ready, unless customising clothes in your underwear is your sort of thing…) and lay face up so that you can begin customising the knees! Be sure to put something inside of the legs as not to damage the back of your jeans and the surface underneath. I find using a rolled magazine works quite well!
Step Three: Using the chalked/taped lines as a guideline take your scalpel/knife and make a small incision and pull the jeans to the left and the blade to the right making a small straight line. You can also ‘saw’ back and forth.
Step Four: Take your sandpaper and rub firmly left and right making clean strokes. You will see the weft and warp of the denim begin to break and fray. Right now it might look too clean but do not worry, this will soon roughen up.
Step Five: You may wish to make smaller incisions on the jeans depending on how aged you want them to look. To do this, repeat the steps as above. To give a more naturally worn-in look take the sandpaper and rub vigorously on the edges of pockets and on the seams of the legs.
Step Six: Wash your jeans! Turn them inside out and pop in the machine on a cool wash. This will help to protect the finishing colours and also do your part for the environment. Washing the jeans really helps to age and fray the cuts that we have just made on them. Take them out to dry.
Step Seven: Admire the results and show off your fashion handiwork!
There are many ways to make abrasions to your denim. An old favourite go-to is the cheese grater. Personally, I find this to be quite laborious and the results not too great. Using the sandpaper (without any slices cut into the denim) rub vigourously vertically. Slowly you will see the colour lift from the denim and the white threads start to appear. Now you have a choice – keep rubbing and break through the denim completely or take a small pair of nail scissors (or a thread picker if you have one available) to lift the remaining coloured denim. Focus on areas that would see hard work – Edges of seat pockets, belt loops and the hems.