It’s crazy to think that two pioneers by the names of Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis created the first pair of jeans back in 1873; they unknowingly constructed what would eventually become the most worn item of clothing on planet Earth. As much as we love and depend on them, finding the perfect pair of jeans remains one of life’s greater sartorial challenges. They have to fit just right while being versatile, utilitarian and comfortable to sit in (key!). The search can take years, and then by the time you find ‘the one’, silhouette trends will have changed, or your body shape will have fluctuated and that dream pair just doesn’t fit quite the same anymore.
Although denim is inherently a wardrobe staple, trends do of course exist as is per the natural ebb and flow of the fashion industry. Each year brings with it something new, no matter how fleeting, whether it’s a simple and subtle alteration to a classic shape, the surprising return of an old cut, or something completely revolutionary altogether. So while we’ll definitely still be wearing our tried and true classics for many years to come (black skinnies, Levi’s 501s, we’re looking at you), there’s no doubt that many of us will also be experimenting with some fresh new trends this year. Ultimately, it always pays to invest in the fits that feel right for you, no matter what’s in vogue at the moment.
Sustainability is also a huge issue to consider in the denim world, as unfortunately, its production is one of the most damaging to the environment, not only due to the vast amount of water required to create a single pair of jeans, but also the pollutants used in the dyeing process. That’s not even bringing up the issue of overproduction we are currently facing as a direct result of our society’s lust for fast and easily-disposable fashion.
For sustainable high street denim, my top choice on all accounts is Weekday, without a doubt. Not only do they have a huge range of styles in multiple shades and lengths, but they feel way more expensive than they actually are, and all of their cotton is either organic or recycled. Another increasingly popular sustainable (and affordable) brand is People Tree, which boasts a collection of 100% organic cotton denim that uses over 80% less water to produce than conventional cotton.
So, with all of that in mind, here are all the denim styles that are taking the high-street and runway by storm this season:
Loose jeans have been creeping back into our day to day lives for a while now. This year, we can expect to see more distressed, ripped up versions, in a nod to the very current 90s aesthetic we seem to be vibing with at the moment. I got in on this trend last autumn, and I absolutely love it for those days where I want to look effortlessly chill, paired with some Vans and a sweatshirt or crop top.
Taking it up a notch from the baggy, loads of designers have introduced 70s style flares into their collections this past autumn. Featuring more structured silhouettes with absolutely no rips or frayed hems, wide-leg jeans have a way of making any outfit look elevated and classy. Within this classic silhouette has emerged a micro-trend of course; jeans with pressed creases to the front of the trouser leg. Elevate some flares with a sharp blazer or duster jacket and classic ankle boots; a failsafe combination that will work for so many occasions.
Printed jeans were absolutely everything in my childhood; from coloured patches to crazy stripes and floral embroidery, the nineties and early noughties were a time of carefree experimentation on this front, much like their preceding decades. If you’re really not into prints but still want to make a statement, maybe try out a crisp white pair which are so easy to style and look somewhat more refined than your everyday blue shades.
The lighter hues of denim seem to be taking a back seat to moodier, deep indigo tones this season. As much as I love a light acid wash, it’s true that there’s something about a darker rinse that makes denim look smarter and more put together; even appropriate in many offices, offering myriad elegant styling possibilities.
I personally would have a hard time ditching my high-waisted styles for low-rises, but Y2K fashion is taking over whether we like it or not. And while pelvic bone-skimming styles in all their Britney-esque glory aren’t my personal cup of tea, fashionistas far and wide are really coming round to the idea of a low-rise straight-leg style for 2022. Who knows, I may be eating my words in no time…