It’s almost a year since we first went into lockdown. A lot has changed, some of it forever. So many brands went down; others got catapulted into the mainstream like nobody could have imagined. While loungewear became the popular option, articles like sunglasses and denim suffered greatly. I lamented this seeming disappearance of denim. I missed doing the classic white shirt, blue jeans and lace-ups (or sneakers) combos, and accentuating it with a sporty jacket to complete the look. Well, it’s 2021, and denim is rising again. It is a good time, then, to look at how denim has changed even from five years ago.

  • Fabric: A lot more than just cotton is now used to make denim. Sustainability reigns high. People are looking at more ethical options, including hemp, recycled fabrics, and even plastic (ocean) waste yarns. Dyeing is becoming less harmful to the environment with brands (like Wrangler and Levi’s) developing techniques to dye fabric with very little or no water. Gucci’s new GG denim employs the jacquard weave using organic cotton, which is sustainable and environment-conscious, and soft to touch and wear.
  • Form: The idea that denim or any garment, for that matter, needs to make you look a certain way is now becoming outdated. People have embraced comfort in a manner that overrides the need to conform to any pre-set patterns. Notions that boot cuts are for cow-herders riding horseback, and baggies for skateboarders, were already redundant.
  • Fit: This concerns how a jean sits on you versus how it was cut. Here again, pun intended, there will be much room for relaxation. The idea that a good pair of jeans doesn’t necessarily have to cling to you tight is the prevailing norm. It doesn’t have to be anti-fit, but somewhere between straight legs with a generous seat-cut and a mid-rise waist. You can wear it to a meeting or for a bike ride, and yet it looks easy when you are lounging around in the evening, even if there is low seating involved. Replay comes to mind, with their stretch-incorporated selvedge jeans, making you look slim without constricting your movement.
  • Feel: Denim needn’t be sandpaper on your thighs. It should fit like soft slacks or track pants, but look like legit denim on the outside. The Uniqlo EZY manages this exceptionally well, and has been a trendy pair for those who want a basic pair of high comfort jeans without compromising on the classic denim look.
  • Fashion: While the classic will always remain in style, trends will come and go. After stone wash, smart fabric, ripped etc., the new talking point is the collabs, like what is happening with sneakers. The latest Pokemon collection from Levi’s is a lovely, limited edition series. While it may feel a bit OTT to me, I can still see that trucker jacket finding many takers.