When you think of casual, universal clothing, denim naturally comes to mind. Talk to Amy Leverton, author of Denim, and she will remind you that denim is an ever-evolving personalized article of clothing that should be continuously celebrated. Amy has “been working in the denim industry since 2003. She was previously head of Denim and Youth Culture at the trend-forecasting website WGSN and now operates her own company, Denim Dudes, out of Los Angeles.” To add to those successes, she decided to write Denim to spread the love of denim across the globe, as one does.
“This book is an ode to the enduring cool of denim and the creative ways it can be worn, showcasing unique and inspirational looks from denim lovers across the United States, the UK, Europe, Asia, and Australia,” Rizzoli tells us. Highlighting some of the most stylish women around the globe and the one-of-a-kind ways they style their favorite denim trends are just the half of it—getting a glimpse into each of their lives is the other.
Ahead, enjoy getting to know a select few of the ladies featured in Denim by Amy Leverton as we show you how each of them style their favorite denim trends. From New York to Bangkok, get ready to shop incredible denim styles you can wear no matter where you’re from.
Biker Babe, Occupational Therapist, Motorcycle Enthusiast
“I am a heavy metal maniac and took the Saxon lyrics, ‘denim and leather, brought us all together, it was you that set the spirit free’ very literally, and try to incorporate that free spirit into what I wear. I grew up a blue jean baby and love to incorporate all of my favorite denim eras into my outfits. I love the ’60s/’70s bells of the jeans I am wearing, which are vintage Levi’s, my favorite for fit. I am tall and I also appreciate the short length of these jeans, which flare out just around my ankle. The jacket is a 1960s Lee jacket with Gas Crisis patches on it from the 1970s. I believe the Harley Davidson logo was hand painted on the back, I got this piece from a friend before I embarked on a cross-country motorcycle trip with Harley Davidson in the summer of 2015. The belt and ‘chaos pouch’ are my homage to ’80s/’90s denim, as I am a child of the 1980s. I love to represent all the decades this way and mash them up into my outfits. The gloves are denim and leather and were sent to me by an American company called Grifter who are based out of North Carolina. Long live rock and roll!!!!”
Available in sizes 24 to 31.
Available in sizes DK34 to DK42.
Romantique, Ponytail Journal
“I am a nerdy collector of antique Southeast Asian textiles. It’s in my blood, and this journey of mine has uncovered small clues about my heritage as a Thai-Chinese-British-Australian who is keen on history and a hopeless romantic in some respects. Fabrics have the incredible power to tell stories through color, pattern, fiber, and detail, so my outfit can be considered a story woven over a small lifetime some hundred to two hundred years ago. The jacket I’m wearing is of blue Hmong origin. I have been able to date it back some two hundred years ago thanks to the coins that are sewn into the breast as an elaborate detail (and they make an incredible sound when you wear it). The Hmong people are spread around hidden corners from the Southern tip of China and into Southeast Asia. As a minority group, they have been displaced by war yet are so proud of their beautiful fabrics and heirloom rice varieties. They believe in the spirit world and in the interconnectedness of all living things, and I have found many pieces that clearly show this through details like cocoon fringing or randomly woven color thanks to whatever was growing at the time.
“This was a personal gift given to me by one of the region’s biggest collectors and her adoptive daughter, a Hmong lady named Si. I still receive the most delicious heirloom rice from her extended family who live on the land and practice the lifestyle of their great ancestors. The pants are also old enough to be considered antique. They are from Laos and are a lovely combination of handwoven silk, silk embroidery, and an organic fiber died in indigo. It feels like a fine banana fiber to me, but I can’t be sure. I wear them like fisherman’s pants, using some cotton twill taping to fasten them to my waist, but you should really fold them with enough skill that they won’t fall off all day. My collection is special to me because it maps out my past and reminds me of a connection to the world that is more than just ‘having,’ but rather the beautiful state of ‘being.’”
Available in sizes 26 to 34.
Available in sizes 10 to 22.
Trend Forecaster and Designer, H&M
Stephanie Sian Smith
“I’ve had an obsession with denim ever since I was in high school. I’ve kept some of my teenage denim and still wear it even to this day. Denim and indigo to me are style staples and have been for generations. I love that my clothes tell stories of my travels and personality. I like to mix and match styles, eras that are new and old.
“I’ve been a lover of Japanese indigo ever since I started traveling there about twelve years ago. I’m drawn to the unique deep rich blue color that develops its own character with age. I tend to mix new denim with flea market finds. For me, my favorite vintage finds don’t have to be collectible or the most expensive; they just have to be unique. Part of the thrill for me is the story behind the purchase. You’ll often find me scouring flea markets around the globe trying to find my next piece. I picked up this kimono from a antique market in YoYogi park in Tokyo for a few pounds; obviously I was drawn to the giant K branding on the back, apparently standing for a building trade company. The vintage Levi’s 501 jeans are customized by Japanese brand From Bonum, which I discovered on a trip to Tokyo in the back streets of Cat Street. The store resembles a studio space and shop in one. My jeans were hand patched and customized with antique French fabric by two craftsmen in the store, which make them even more special to me.”
Available in sizes 24 to 30.
Available in sizes 24 to 32.
Raiding the Archives, Freelance Designer
“In the photo I’m wearing Margiela boots, 1930s backzip work pants, a nineteenth-century Japanese noragi boro jacket, and oversize lightweight denim shirt from Neuw. The belt is an extra long suitcase strap from the first part of the twentieth century. I’m into denim and indigo garments because I find them aesthetically pleasing. The timeless, historical dimension of the classic blues is not really what appeals to me. I love clothes with character in fabrication, shape, and volume that reflect how I feel right now. My husband is an avid collector of all things indigo; I raid his archive on a regular basis. I really enjoy the process of reframing both old and new work wear pieces. By means of styling, recutting, and sewing I am to make old, stiff, and slightly awkward pieces feel feminine, personal, and current.”
Available in sizes 24 to 30.
Available in sizes IT38 to IT46.
Future Utility, Founder and Creative Director, Lorod
“I am wearing a look from our first Spring/Summer collection, the Zip-Through Pant and Cropped Jacket in rinsed denim. The pant was inspired by a 1970s vintage pair I found in Los Angeles. I had never seen a pair of jeans that zipped and unzipped fully from the front to the back and felt that they would fit perfectly into our first collection. The denim we use is sourced from Cone Denim Mills in North Carolina. For this look we did a simple enzyme wash on raw denim in order to soften the feel slightly but still maintain the structured quality. At LOROD we love the idea of our customer living in their denim, wearing it in so it molds to their body.”
Available in sizes 0 to 8.
Available in sizes 22 to 31.
Freelance Model, Illustrator, and Designer
“I wear Japanese brands a lot because I just love the quality and workmanship. I tend to choose those brands without knowing they’re made in Japan until afterward. Maybe it’s from my time working at Kapital, I saw how much energy and skill is put into making just one pair of jeans… I also love to see how my jeans change color and age just like me. They turn into something truly rare and one of a kind. My jacket is from Ganryu by Comme des Garçons, the T-shirt is Playstation official good, my jeans are of course Kapital, and I’m wearing Ashibukuro boots.”
Available in sizes 25 to 30.
Available in sizes 24 to 32.
Looking for a pair of great denim shorts to wear when the above styles can’t take the heat? Shop the top three jean short trends worth choosing this summer.