Hope Mills Voelkel, founder of Hem + Haw, grew up in Martinsville, Virginia, a town that’s home to seven textile mills. The factories would donate extra fabric to her 4-H club, and she used the factory scraps to learn to sew. After college, she worked at a creative agency where she learned problem solving and communications skills. It all came together while on a hike when her favorite pair of jeans ripped. She didn’t want to give them up, but they were expired as pants.
So to give the jeans a second life, she used the denim the make a handbag. And when she thought of the mountains of clothing that’s discarded every year, she thought perhaps making lots of cute bags could not only be a great business, but also a way to lessen the amount of trash in the world. And so Hem + Haw denim clutches and cross body bags were born!
Every element of the bags is made in the U.S. The denim comes from all over the South (or it can come from your own old jeans), the lining is made of cotton that’s grown, dyed and woven in the United States, the leather is manufactured in Ohio, and the zippers are made in Georgia.
The bags can be a date-night clutch, or you can add a strap to make a crossbody bag for anything from riding a bike or wrangling children. The leather accents give the bags a sophisticated feel and are a nice counter element to the weathered denim. Buy a bag made with denim Hem + Haw has collected, or send them your own well-loved jeans to create a custom bag—learn more about that here and here!
Esther Voisin, the creator of denim brand Evdenimes, says denim is her canvas. “It’s an inspiring, versatile, functional and vernacular material. Since I began to work with denim, my desire has always been to make simple, timeless pieces.” Dream Harder is her motto, and it’s a phrase, among others, that can be found on her bags and denim button-up shirts. Each piece is unique and made by hand. She deconstructs vintage denim pieces and reconstructs them as bags and/or adds leather and hardware accents.
Mother Denim has partnered with Victoria’s Secret bombshell Miranda Kerr for a limited-edition capsule collection. The cutout jumpsuit may be the sexiest denim garment ever made, and the Funday Flares are the perfect cut in the perfect colors. Another favorite is the butterfly embroidered denim shirt. The 12-piece collection also includes a cropped sweatshirt that I must have.
Even better, a portion of the proceeds will go to The Royal Women’s Hospital Foundation in Australia, a 150 year-old institution that annually cares for more than 10,000 women, 600 premature babies and sends more than 4,200 babies home with their families and has been doing so for 150 years. The Foundation exists to ensure that all patients have the best possible treatment and equipment. Saving babies lives and perfect denim are two things no one can argue with.
Khloe Kardashian’s denim brand, Good American, now has a pencil skirt in its lineup. Like the brand’s jeans, the skirt has an ultra high waist and hugs curves like nobody’s business. It also has a daring back slit—of course it does! It currently comes in one medium-blue wash and costs $135. Also like the jeans, sizes range from 00 to 24.
If you’re denim obsessed like myself, you’ve perhaps heard denim’s origin story: the fabric was born in the French city Nîmes in the 16th century. The fabric was dubbed “serge de Nîmes,” which means “serge from Nîmes.” It was originally made from a silk and wool blend, and was used to make the flared jackets favored by women at the time as well as men’s jackets.
Most traces of Nîmes’ denim history were erased with the persecution of Protestants in France when the André’s—the town’s prominent (and Protestant) textile family—were forced into exile in Italy. The first trousers were eventually made using the fabric in Genoa, which also led to calling the pants jeans. Levi’s eventually brought the fabric to American workmen.
Now, Nîmes native Guillaume Sagot is reviving denim culture in his home town with a new denim brand called Atelier de Nîmes. Sagot currently makes three styles of men’s jeans, and he has plans for accessories and women’s styles in the next couple years. He’s starting small but is in it for the long haul. Read on for my exclusive interview with Sagot! Read More >
When I visited West Coast Craft in November, I was on the hunt for anything and everything denim (as per usual). Have you been to West Coast Craft? It’s an amazing collection of artisans that happens twice yearly at Fort Mason in San Francisco. It’s extremely well-curated and you’ll find incredible handmade and beautifully-designed items to wear and for your home. (Check some of my other favorites at Forbes!)
When it came to denim, Alex Steele’s booth grabbed my attention like no other. Not only did she have perfect vintage Levi’s, but they were decorated with her really cool art. She paints with bleach directly onto the denim. The palm-leaf print initially caught my eye, and her nudes (and more) on jackets won me over.
I quickly learned that Alex doest much more than paint on jeans—she has dabbled in everything from jewelry design to taxidermy. Check out our interview below! Read More >
As I mentioned previously, I’ve been prematurely thinking about springtime and all the outfits I’ll hopefully be wearing when flowers are blooming and skies are blue. One outfit in particular that I keep going back to in my daydreams is a pair of white jeans and a denim top. It was not easy to fulfill this fantasy, because 99% of the white jeans I found online were either low-rise or skinny or both, which is not my jam. But then I encountered this ensemble, and it was like lightning struck! Thank you AG jeansfor fulfilling my hopes and dreams.
These jeans look comfortable, and I just can’t deal with extra discomforts at the moment. And the denim shirt looks as soft as can be—substantial to be sure, but to also silky smooth to the touch. That’s all I really wanted. Big kisses AG 🙂
Filipino Hip Hop dance world championsUpeepz are famous for their synchronized performances featuring an impossibly huge group of dancers. Now they’re coming together for Uniqlo’s denim line manufactured at the Kaihara Denim Mill in Japan. They are amazing to watch!!
AG Jeans’inaugural Indigo Capsule Collection must have been a hit, because they’ve released a new season an it’s even better than the last. As a person who works from home, this is exactly what I want to be wearing, if at least to not still be in my PJ’s when the UPS guy comes or when the teen unexpectedly brings home a few friends after school.
The pieces can be layered with each other or with your existing wardrobe for a comfy look that says denim but feels like sweats. I’m all about comfort right now so BRING. IT. ON. Prices are approximately $150 – $300. Check out my favorites below and shop all the pieces here! Read More >
I’m already excited for spring denim, which I realize is extremely premature and there’s plenty of winter still to deal with. But these dreamy denim (and denim-esque) pieces from Sea‘s Spring/Summer 2017 collection, which I first spotted at McMullen boutique’s Facebook page, make weathering the chilliest season is a little easier. Yes, please to each and every one of these! Read More >
I have long been a big fan of No.6′s clogs, which are perfect with any pair of jeans. In fact I didn’t realize the brand offered anything other than clogs until not very long ago when I noticed their comfy-chic dresses and jumpsuits. And then when I saw their Spring/Summer 2017 collection it was like, BOOM! Denim city. How exciting.
In particular I am very much digging the above puffy-cloud evoking side-slit pants, which a brand representative tells me are made of a light and lovely denim. Stay tuned for them and the rest of the collection (check out my denim faves below) to be available in about a month! Read More >
Denim is no longer relegated to weekends and casual occasions only. These days, jeans can be appropriate pretty much anytime, and here at Eat, Sleep, Denim, we wear them ALL the time. We’re obsessed with the latest trends, newest brands, heritage brands doing cool things, and the street style stars who wear denim like it’s their job—because it is for real our job.
ESD’s editor, Kristen Philipkoski, started blogging about personal style in 2010 with Stylenik. She has written for Wired, 7×7 magazine, Forbes, Racked, Refinery 29 and more. Follow along at ESD as she discovers new denim brands, chats with denim enthusiasts, and tracks the trends from bell bottom to skinny, shredded to raw, hight-waists to hip huggers.