Make Do And Mend – Your Guide To Looking After The Clothes You Already Own

Jeans are a staple part of any fashion-lover’s sartorial diet. And we’re happy to tell you that one of the cheapest and most eco-friendly denim trends – upcycling – is putting down serious roots this year. That’s right, instead of having to buy into the latest jeans style, you can grab a set of shears and cut your way straight to the fashion forefront.

‘With the continued rise of environmental awareness, focus on circular fashion and sustainability, the upcycled and refurbished jean is a must have for 2021,’ denim expert Kelly Harrington told ELLE  for our 2021 denim trend report.

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‘Resourcefulness and frugality go hand-in-hand with craft and DIY aesthetics: upcycle deadstock denim, patch up vintage jeans and get creative,’ Harrington continued.

One of our favourite ways to give old jeans new life is to add rips and tears. Perfect at the knees (or anywhere else you might want to add them), ripped denim has a nostalgic, grungy feel and can sex up even the most prim of outfits.

To get the low-down, we asked Jill Guenza, VP Women’s Design at Levi’s, to explain exactly how to rip jeans at home.

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Why should I rip my jeans?

‘Wearing ripped jeans is a completely personal style preference. Some of my favourite jeans have distressing and rips simply from wearing them for years and years. But not all rips have to be original to be cool. Rips and shreds add attitude and tell a story, no matter how they were created.’

What should be considered before ripping jeans?

‘Jeans without stretch are generally easier to rip than ones that have stretch, but all jeans are rip-able.

‘Also, be prepared for an iterative process – it’s best to be conservative with your rips and tears at first and then make them wider or bigger after trying them on. ‘

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How to rip jeans:

1. ‘Put your jeans on and mark where you want the rips. Chalk is the most accident-proof.

2. ‘Grab sharp but small scissors – precision is key with the scissors. A piece of cardboard placed inside the jeans where you are cutting will prevent you from cutting more than one layer of the jeans.

3. ‘Take your scissors and use the edge to scrape the length of the jeans horizontally in the areas that you want the rips to form. Stop when you start to see the white threads. Grab your tweezers and sporadically fray threads.

4. Cut a little, then try them on. Cuts are like adding salt to food – you can always add more but you can’t take it away once it’s there.

5. ‘Be conservative, because rips will open up after wear, so plan for the holes to open up over time.’

How should you maintain your DIY ripped jeans?

‘Depending on the placement of the rips, as you continue to wear the jeans, the rips will become larger. Know that the rips will continue to get more prominent through wear and washing of your jeans.’

This story originally appeared on ELLE UK

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