When “Used” Becomes New Again: Repurposing Denim Trend

Levi Strauss & Co.
November 2, 2016

New holes, roughed surfaces, bleaching, brightening, darkening, cutting – there are myriad ways to make old clothing new, especially when it comes to denim. And that approach has given birth to the reuse trend.
Emerging fashion brand Vetements is one particular arbiter of reuse, known for updating and upgrading everyday wardrobe staples for the couture crowd. Most recently, the Vetements Spring 2017 collection showcased an unconventional collaboration with numerous retail partners—Levi’s® included. Vetements deconstructed and reconstructed old Levi’s® trucker jackets to put its very own twist on the silhouette and fit, sending them down the Paris runways earlier this year.
Fashion design student Jeremy Joo’s is taking the reuse trend to the extreme through his partnership with Grailed for a limited-edition line of jeans called the “Dangerous Man” collection. Joo’s process for repurposing Levi’s® jeans can be summed up in a word: intense. His video showcases a range of methods Jeremy employs, ranging from running over the jeans with a car to burying them in the sand. Over the top? Sure, but the effect does produce a “reuse” result.
Reusing, repurposing and recycling old denim gives designers and fashionistas alike a way to breathe new life into clothes using time-tested classics to inspire modern creativity.


Jeff “Yoki” Yokoyama

Designer Melody Sabatasso—another reuse aficionado known as Love, Melody—was reconstructing Levi’s® denim before repurposing ever became a trend. She got her start as a designer in the 1970s when she was discovered by Hollywood legend Lauren Bacall, who requested a custom repurposed Levi’s® denim dress, made from several pairs of old jeans. Bacall became the first on Melody’s impressive client list, which later included stars like Cher and Elvis. To this day, Love, Melody is still coming up with new repurposed creations that feature rhinestones, patchwork pieces and her very own styles.
In the vein of Love, Melody, designer Jeff “Yoki” Yokoyama spent time at the Levi’s Eureka Innovation Lab with one goal in mind: Build a repurposed pair of jeans unlike any other. Mission accomplished? You bet. The “new” jeans showcased an upside down back pocket, and contrasting washes at the waist, legs and pockets.
The reuse trend may feel hot now, but people have been doing it for decades, proving time and again that when a garment like a pair of Levi’s® is created, it’s built to last—in whatever shape or form it takes.