8 Luxury Denim Brands Worth Your Investment
Updated: Sep 1, 2020
Jeans are a ubiquitous fashion staple, worn by many. They transcend class, gender, race, age, and location, but jeans weren’t always the fashion democratizing style choice they are today. They have a rich and interesting history, indicative of the social and political climate of the time.
From cowboys in the 1930s to hippies in the 1970s, jeans have been adopted as the uniform of a diverse range of groups. In the 1950s, they became synonymous with rebellion, after “bad boy” Marlon Brando sported a pair of Levi’s in the classic film “The Wild Ones”, creating a negative connotation that led blue jeans to be banned in most American schools. In the 1960s, they were symbols of protest against racial discrimination and the war draft, worn by middle-class American college students in solidarity with the working class. But the original purpose of jeans was more simple. During the 19th century gold rush in California, the need arose for durable work-wear that could withstand intensive mining conditions. Durable and sturdy, denim was the perfect material, and thus the first pair of jeans were created thanks to a partnership between tailor Jacob W. Davis and Levi Strauss.
However, most of today’s jeans wouldn’t last one week in a mine. In order to keep up with the high demand for jeans, many manufacturers prioritize speed and cost-cutting over quality. A lot of modern day denim is thinner, lower-quality and a far cry from the durability it was once renowned for. Yet, everyone needs a new pair every now and then, so if there’s one thing you should invest in, it’s a pair of high-quality, luxury jeans that last you a long while. They may be more expensive, but it’s more cost-effective in the long run, not to mention more sustainable for the environment as you won’t be replacing your luxury jeans as often as you would your fast fashion jeans.
To help you make a right luxury jeans choice, here are the top eight brands to consider for your next jeans purchase:
Rag & Bone
Rag & Bone was founded in 2002 with one goal in mind: “to craft the ultimate five-pocket jean”. According to founder Marcus Wainwright, each pair tells a unique story about its wearer. “A traditional five-pocket jean is a biography of the person wearing it,” he explains on their website. “The indigo dye washes out depending on what you’ve been doing and carrying in the pockets, and so denim comes to reflect its owner as no other type of clothing can.” High-quality materials and expert craftsmanship are central to the brand’s philosophy; there are no shortcuts. One pair of jeans takes up to 38 separate steps and processes, and most of the distressing treatment is done by hand. The long-lasting quality isn’t the only reason that rag & bone jeans are worth your investment. The brand is also part of Cotton’s Blue Jean Go GreenTM denim recycling program, allowing you to bring in old jeans for recycling in exchange for 20% off a new pair.
Citizens of Humanity
Mass-production of jeans often results in cutting corners, which is why Citizens of Humanity prides itself on being one of the few denim brands with vertical integration. This means all products are manufactured within the brand’s own facilities, and not an outside factory, giving them complete control over the quality of product. Each pair of jeans is handcrafted by one of their 250 sewing experts, and the finished product is hand-inspected by quality control specialists before they are deemed ready for sale. In fact, by the time they make their way to customers, Citizens of Humanity jeans have passed through the hands of at least 40 expert craftsmen. Sustainability is also a core value of the brand. Using automated machines to maximize efficiency and minimize fabric waste, and lowering water consumption during the production process, Citizens of Humanity is committing themselves to minimize their carbon footprint.
Soul of Nomad
Soul of Nomad’s unique luxury jean formula includes a mix of key ingredients: fit, craftsmanship, materials sourced, and engineering. Soul of Nomad’s collection is conceptualized and crafted by a small team of innovative product engineers and fashion industry veterans whose combined expertise adds up to more than 100 years of work experience. Together, they merge technology and design, resulting in modernity-driven jeans-wear that are made with the latest fabrics and materials the industry has to offer. The outcome is a collection that is durable, lightweight, and practical. Soul of Nomad is created exclusively in the United States and Italy, with raw materials sourced from ethical, fair-trade suppliers around the world.
No list would be complete without mentioning the brand who actually invented jeans: Levi’s. Having produced jeans for over 150 years, it’s safe to say they know what they’re doing. While the brand has numerous collections, the Levi’s Authorized Vintage collection offers something unique. In partnership with Redone, Levi’s repurposes and remasters vintage jeans to create original, one-of-a-kind jeans that not only gives the wearer a piece of history, but also contributes to a circular economy by giving the jeans a second life.
7 for All Mankind
LA-born label 7 for All Mankind is credited as one of the first brand to market jeans as a luxury item. Founders Michael Glasser, Peter Koral, and Jerome Dahan wanted to fuse the casual, every-day weariblity of jeans with the quality and value of luxury products, two seemingly opposing ideals that changed the denim landscape forever. By using high-quality materials and tailoring their jeans to have a less stiff, softer fit, they managed to create high-quality, designer jeans that are comfortable enough to be worn 7 days a week (hence the brand name). Nicknamed “7’s”, the jeans have been adopted by Hollywood elite including Jessica Alba, Kim Kardshian, Emma Stone and Jennifer Lawrence and remain one of the most trusted and coveted denim brands today.
Considered one of the pioneers of sustainable fashion, Stella McCartney has been a champion of ethical and environmental causes since founding her namesake label in 2001. x Investing in a pair of Stella McCartney jeans isn’t just good for your wardrobe. Her commitment to sustainability means her clothes are made to last; her jeans aren’t going to wear out and end up in a landfill within months like lesser-quality brands. As both require care and consideration, quality and sustainability are often directly linked, meaning you can count on ethical brands to produce higher quality jeans.
Designed in New York but made in LA, Khaite reimagines American sportswear for the modern day woman. Stylish and chic, but comfortable enough for everyday wear, Khaite jeans are for the 21st century woman who is always on the go and wants to look good while doing so. Their variety of styles reflects the multitude of women we have today. Whether you’re looking for timeless elegance or retro-inspired trends, fitted or relaxed, high-waisted or cropped, Khaite has something for everyone.
Who would have thought the word “Acne” would ever be considered cool? Jonny Johansson, one of the brand’s founders, said he quite liked the idea of "appropriating a difficult word" and giving it new meaning in the fashion landscape. He certainly seems to have succeeded, considering that today Acne Studios is a trendy, innovative label coveted by the likes of Rihanna and Alexa Chung. Inspired by Scandanavian minimalism, contemporary art and photography, the brand merges trendy styles with timeless quality. Acne Studios is rooted in the functionality and simplicity that underscores Scandavian design, creating products that are built to stand the test of time, in terms of both quality and design. Originally founded as a denim label featuring styles in rigid, comfort or super stretch denim, Acne Studios understands the versatility of denim.
Authors: Stephan Rabimov & Adriana Georgiades