Deconstructed Denim: Recycling at Its Finest

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Deconstructed Denim - What is It and How to Create Deconstructed Denim Yourself

Deconstructed jeans are a big fashion trend of 2018. And while you can definitely go out and buy yourself a pair of these popular pants, they might be out of your budget. Or, you realize you don’t really need yet another pair of jeans.

If that’s the case, just make your own cool pair of deconstructed denim. You’ll save money, recycle your jeans and be in totally in vogue, too. Looks like a win-win, doesn’t it?

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What does it take to make denim jeans?

Before we talk about deconstructed jeans, let’s start with good old denim jeans. They’ve been around for what seems like forever, and they’re not going anywhere anytime soon.

But have you ever stopped to ask yourself where this wardrobe staple comes from and how they’re made?

Denim jeans are made of cotton because the natural fibers are perfect for a sturdy pair of jeans. And in order to meet the high demands for denim production, cotton is grown all over the world – from the US to Pakistan to China.

Unfortunately, denim production can be pretty harmful to both people and the planet. Cotton farmers often make pretty low wages and they come into contact with some pretty harmful chemicals.

The production process for denim is not so environmentally friendly either. Most denim factories waste thousands of gallons of water. That’s because they add chemicals and dyes to the water – this gives the cotton the different colors we call “washes.”

Ideally speaking, the water is filtered so the dyes don’t contaminate the local water supply, but this is not always the case.

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Depending on the denim factory and its location, dyes are dumped directly into local rivers, which is terrible for the local resident and the environment.

How long does a pair of denim jeans last?

Making denim jeans requires a lot of natural resources. So, it’s worth asking if they can last enough time to make all this work worth it?

Generally, speaking a normal pair of denim can last anywhere from three to five years if you don’t over wash them and overwear them.

But what happens when they start to look worn, torn and tattered? Should you just toss them and look for a new pair? Well, that’s definitely an option, but since deconstructed denim is a trend, you can keep your jeans around and give them a new life.

What does deconstructed denim actually mean?

When it comes to fashion, deconstructed denim is when a garment hasn’t been finished the way it normally is. So, you can expect to see raw edges instead of neat, closed off seams.

Another common deconstructed look is a fringed hem or an uneven hemline.

Some deconstructed denim jeans have zippers in new places. Some will remove a piece of denim and sew it back in an unexpected way. In short, deconstructed denim looks unfinished on purpose.

Deconstructed denim at every price

Since they’re a trendy item right now, you can find them in all different price ranges. And yes, we do mean all price ranges.

For example, this pair of ASOS Deconstructed Straight Leg Jeans in Tonal 80s Bleach Light Acid Wash is just $33.50. But then, you can spend close to $700 for a pair of Maison Margiela Deconstructed-Front Straight Jeans.

And the pair that takes the cake is without question, the Vetements X Levi’s reworked straight-leg jeans for $1,470.

And if you don’t have a thousand dollars to drop on a pair of popular denim jeans, no worries. Most people don’t. And that’s why lots of savvy fashion lovers have come up with their own tricks and hacks to get deconstructed denim for less – much less!

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The 11 best tutorials for deconstructed denim

If you want to save your denim and be in vogue, there are lots of helpful tutorials out there to guide you. We’ve rounded up 11 of them.

Vetements / Off-white style reconstructed denim

Here’s a great hack for Virgil Abloh’s Off-White or Vetements Levi deconstructed denim. You’ll get a distressed hem and a new pocket above the left knee.

DIY Vetements reconstructed denim

Here’s an even better tutorial for a Vetements-style pair of light wash reconstructed jeans using vintage Levi jeans in stone wash. Here, you get a misaligned side seam, along with an edgy, back pocket.

Vetements inspired denim jeans

This cool and trendy look normally costs about $1,700, but with a basic pair of jeans, you can create a cool pattern using just bleach and duck tape. And save yourself almost $2,000.

DIY deconstructed jeans

This look was all over fashion week. And simply by taking jeans apart, and putting them back together, you can give your jeans a cool new life.

DIY uneven denim hem

The uneven hem here makes quite a statement. All you need is a pair of fabric shears and a seam ripper. Have at it!

DIY Distressed hem

This may be the look that started it all. And this tutorial shows you how to revamp just about any pair of old jeans to make them look super trendy.

DIY Frayed edge denim

For a decidedly frayed hem and knee cutouts, this video needs watching. It’s easy to follow and you’ll soon be rocking a basic reconstructed look yourself.

DIY Fringe Hem Jeans

Give your denim jeans a cute fringed hem, using chalk, tape, and shears. You get to decide how thick or thin your fringe hem is. And you also get to decide how long your jean length is for a super personalized look.

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DIY Acne Studios Frayed Denim jeans

Acne Studios makes a great pair of jeans, but if you’d rather save your money and work with what you’ve got, this hack’s got your back.

DIY asymmetric hem jeans

Similar to the uneven hem tutorial, this look lets you create a high-low hem on the side rather than on the front and back.

DIY Raw hem frayed denim jeans

You don’t need to use any sew or glue here. You just use scissors and a pair of salad thongs to create a perfect fringe and unfinished hemline. Although this tutorial is for quite a short leg, you can keep the length as long or as short as you like.

Do you have an old pair of jeans in your wardrobe? How about creating a cool pair of deconstructed denim with them?


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