Denim Is Getting Spicy in 2023—the Details and Cuts Turning Jeans Controversial
Trends come and go, but one thing surely remains constant: Denim never truly goes away. The silhouettes and the rises may change (suddenly, everyone is all for low-rise now), but denim is that staple that will always have a place in the fashion conversation. With elegant normcore at the forefront of fall's collections, denim is playing a huge role in reinforcing the wearability factor designers are so readily embracing.
But that's not to say there hasn't been a fair share of out-there denim trends. For one, players such as Y/Project, Blumarine, and Givenchy turned things up a notch with unexpected washes and offbeat and sometimes nostalgic details like brown-washed denim and big brass studs. The twists deviate from the über-approachable trends like loose denim and straight-leg cuts, and even if we don't consider them controversial, they're at least edgy and whimsical. Other designers and brands have joined the fray, leading us to think that a spicier approach to denim will be the status quo for the seasons ahead. For a full report on the controversial denim trends buzzing about now, keep scrolling below.
Photo:Launchmetrics Spotlight/MM6 Margiela
In line with the underwear-as-pants runway movement, exposed briefs are heating up as a trend to watch. This has less to do with the denim itself, but this styling has made appearances across the fashion board, popping up at Stella McCartney, Margiela, and Etro. Grab a pair of low-rise jeans and elevated briefs (with a noticeable logo preferably), and let the waist peak out a bit for a double-layered effect. Chances are you already have the ingredients to pull this off, so it's a cool trend that doesn't necessarily involve buying more.
The next iteration of cargo pants is here—they're denim cargo shorts. The first clue this denim trend truly had legs was when Zara released its very own version of Givenchy's cutoff cargo jorts from its S/S 23 collection. Zara's shorts quickly sold out (we even bought pairs of them), but it didn't take long for other retailers to follow suit. For a trend that's pretty divisive, a lot of people are surprisingly on board.
A throwback from the era of Lizzie McGuire and Kitson, brown-washed denim (or patinaed denim as we like to call it) is making a comeback like the gaggle of Y2K trends that have lived new lives in 2023. Not surprisingly, Blumarine was all over this particular faded wash, showcasing it heavily in its S/S 23 collection. There are varying degrees of how much of a patinaed look you can go for. Some denim pieces feature light tints of brown, while others look like a pair of jeans caught in a mudslide. It won't be a wash as universally loved as medium blue, but it's worth trying if you're looking for a fresh and cool approach to denim this season.
Photo:Launchmetrics Spotlight/Victoria Beckham
Designers famously love to cut up things and reimagine them (we're looking at you, Chitose Abe), so when deconstructed denim started popping up in droves, it felt like a logical next step. Denim pieces that look inside out or sewn together improperly is what the theme is here. The great advantage of this type of statement denim is that you don't need equally strong pieces to coordinate with it. They make for easy outfits that carry maximum impact.
Head to Toe
Head-to-toe denim ensembles launched onto the scene last season, and the dramatic take is still gaining steam into spring. We've reached the apex of non-clothing denim pieces, including shoes, handbags, jewelry, and more, and designers are coming up with new ways to make denim dressing a lifestyle.
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