From solid gold rivets to extreme fringing and luxurious embellishment, Drapers rounds up the emerging trends in premium denim and finds out what stockists are looking for in the perfect jean
Stocked by luxury department stores and premium independents alike, Italian label Jacob Cohën is known for its “denim couture” aesthetic. The label, which is distributed by GGK, prides itself on its limited edition collections, including a 50-piece capsule of light-washed selvedge denim, cut and sewn by hand exclusively for Harrods, featuring buttons made from the same steel as Rolex watches.
For autumn 16 Jacob Cohën is presenting a limited edition range of Italian denim mid-wash grey tailored jeans, embellished with polished enamel buttons and rivets crafted by a goldsmith in Florence. The label has also produced Japanese Kurabo denim tailored jeans, with 9 carat gold branding and solid gold buttons and rivets, retailing at an eye-watering £2,200.
With more than 1,600 stockists worldwide, UK retailers that stock the brand include Harvey Nichols, Flannels, and from spring 17, Stuarts London.
Wholesale prices: £85 to £950
LA-based Parisian-born designer and artist Sandrine Abessera launched denim brand Sandrine Rose for spring 16. The initial collection, stocked exclusively in the UK by Harvey Nichols, was inspired by the Mojave Desert and the Salton Sea in California – the bold hues of those landscapes are reflected in the embroidery. The geometric shapes are taken from the architecture found in the abandoned buildings of Salton Sea, and pay homage to the works of artists such as Noah Purifoy and Marcel Duchamps.
Autumn 16 follows in a similar vein, making embroidery a key feature. Abessera is influenced by the artistic media in which she has worked, such as drawing, painting and photography, and this has helped her to create a unique collection of vintage-inspired denim and T-shirts.
Retail prices: $338 (£240) to $498 (£353) for jeans. Wholesale prices available on request
An Australian denim brand named after a Belgium street, Neuw Denim describes its aesthetic as “Vintage Revision”, taking inspiration from vintage denim culture, music and modern lifestyles. For its autumn 16 womenswear collection Neuw travelled back to the 1980s, naming each capsule after a song by English rock band The Cure. Key looks for the season mix luxe dark slim bootcuts and spray-on gold skinnies, with refreshed mid-1980s indigo flared crops, and salt and pepper finishes.
Meanwhile in menswear, Neuw’s Venture capsule collection mashes up workwear and military garments in shades of khaki, blue and black. The fabric construction blends a three-ply high-twist cotton-warp yarn with a black weft, woven in a high-density construction. Another highlight is the Boss Regular, a slightly tapered leg jean based on the denim worn by veteran rock star Bruce Springsteen.
Wholesale prices: £40 to £55
Stocked by Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges, German fashion designer Philipp Plein’s high octane take on denim heavily references hip hop, heavy-metal, punk and rap. Not for the faint-hearted, the collection of super-skinny styles for men and women are heavily embellished with studs, graffiti, extreme bleaching, beaded fringing and patchwork detail depicting skulls and dollar signs.
With 73 stores worldwide and 10 new openings planned before the end of the year, including Philipp Plein’s first UK flagship store on New Bond Street in the autumn, the designer’s edgy, no holds-barred take on denim is set to become a high street fixture.
Retail prices: £320 to £1,400. Wholesale prices available on request
Scotch & Soda
Dutch brand Scotch & Soda splits its denim offer into two: the main Amsterdams Blauw collection (£36-£62) and, within it, higher-end sub-brand Lot 22 (£60-£84). Lot 22’s higher price points reflect the amount of detail in the jeans. Spring 16 styles include the vintage-replica “Dean”, which is layered with many coloured threads, while autumn 16’s “Cut the Check” back panel is an over-dyed version of the front panel, giving a subtle two-toned effect.
Amsterdams Blauw – which takes its name from the pigment used in Holland’s Royal Delft pottery and ceramics – also features a number of premium elements despite its entry-level prices. For example, for autumn 16, it has introduced a loose, tapered fit for men called Shapemaker. It has cross-stitching details, an oversized green rivet on the coin pocket and uses a new fabric called Nomad Raw. The fabric looks raw but it has stretch, a green cast and a 3D slightly tinted weft.
What the indies say…Denim
James Jones, co-owner of Robinsons of Bawtry in Bawtry, Doncaster
“We stock Boss by Hugo Boss (£95-£160) and Armani Collezioni (£95-£240) jeans, although Jacob Cohen sells really well for us from the more entry level jeans (£295-£300) to the limited edition pieces, which we special order in for customers (£650-£1,200). I have one customer who bought a pair of £650 jeans he wasn’t sure about because he said it would annoy him if he didn’t have them to complete the collection. The jeans are usually dark denim with interesting trims, patches and silver or gold plated pivot buttons.
“When we took over the store seven years ago £100 for jeans was standard, £200-£250 is pretty much the standard now. I think it’s because men have stopped wearing suits but they still want to spend money, so they get a pair of £300 they can wear every day. Jeans have become a real status symbol.”
Jo Davies, owner of Black White Denim in Wilmslow, Cheshire
“The most popular denim brands I stock at the moment are J Brand, Paige, MiH and Rag & Bone which sit in a price range of £190 to £290. I started selling the majority of them six years ago, with the exception of MiH, which was added a few months ago because we wanted to introduce a brand with a heritage and MiH has a great one. I tend to find my brands through Instagram, magazines, showrooms and on recommendation. High-rise skinny, cropped flares and boyfriend jeans are proving really popular at the moment, as is true blue denim and black and grey colourways. Black-coated and velvet finishes are popular at Christmas, and a little bit of distressing goes down well too.”
Blair Daniel, manager and buyer at Concept Store in Aberdeen
“Scotch & Soda Amsterdams Blauw is flying out. The label is known for its heavy rinses and varied wash patterns (£95-£210). I’ve recently bought summery carrot fit lilac brushed denim and a slim-fit white jean and its skinny black jean is always popular. Our customers have really picked up on Denham since we launched the brand around six years ago (£115-£275). The quality is really consistent. The Forever Black slim jean is particularly popular as it’s designed not to fade.
“I try to make sure I think about all the washes and fits we have in store so there’s not massive cross over. Out of the 40 styles we stock, there are maybe four with no stretch. Our customers like the comfort aspect. Around 80% of the denim we sell is tapered, from cigarette skinny to lower-crotch styles. I try to make sure that I crossmatch all the washes and fits so there’s not massive crossover.”