A world of craftsmanship, from high-end designer jeans to casual, everyday styles.
Gear up for a fashion-forward trip around the world with pit-stops in the U.S., France, Spain, Italy, Sweden, and Japan — all countries that lay claim to some of our favorite denim brands and iconic styles.
Levi Strauss is probably the first denim brand name that comes to mind when you think about the good ol’ US of A — and for good reason. Back in 1934, “Lady Levi’s” were released, marking the world’s first pair of jeans made exclusively for women. Called “Lot 701,” the female Levi’s blue jeans evoked an all-American Western style and were targeted towards working-class women on cattle farms and dude ranches. The product quickly gained popularity and, in 1925, was featured in Vogue as part of a spread on dude ranch attire. Fast forward to 1952 when Marilyn Monroe sported a pair of jeans in the film, ”River Of No Return” and it was official: jeans weren’t only for the likes of Marlon Brando and James Dean, both of whom were celebrated for embracing the Levi’s 501 look. No, this versatile clothing item deserved a spot in women’s wardrobes, and it was here to stay.
Today, Levi’s jeans are, for the most part, stitched outside of the country — with exceptions for their premium and vintage lines, as well as a dedicated line of “Made in the USA” 501® men’s jeans. Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger are also two all-American brands, but they’re made outside of the U.S. as well.
Lucky brand jeans — another well-known American brand — has a line of U.S.-manufactured jeans, with all detailing done by hand (except for the washing process).
Also worth noting are Lee jeans, which were first made in 1889 in Salina, Kansas. And Wrangler jeans which, fun fact, became so popular in the 1974 rodeo circuit that a custom pair was deemed the official jean of the Rodeo Cowboy’s Association of the USA.
Women’s denim jeans that exclusively manufacture their jeans domestically include…
- Imogene + Willie: Nashville, TN
- Loup: New York City
- Ginew: Portland, OR (one of the only Native American-owned denim brands in the world)
- Detroit Denim: Detroit, MI
- Christy Dawn: Los Angeles, CA
A quick Google search of “how to dress like a Parisian woman” yields…get ready for it…11,400,000 results — a testament to just how pervasive the fascination is. People around the world are fed images, TV shows, movies, and books mythologizing this stick-thin, lipstick-wearing, baguette-eating woman who is impeccably put together but simultaneously unserious about herself — her presentation never borders on vanity. She not only has the luxury to laze away the afternoon perched outside a café, but the confidence to as well. Her MO is effortless ease, a certain je ne sais quoi that has women around the world simultaneously enraptured and just a little bit jealous.
Suffice it to say that we have *strong* feelings on the oversimplified archetype of “the Parisian woman” and what society tells the world she should or should not be wearing. Sure, you’ll spot Parisian women wearing the quintessential skinny jeans/blazer/ballet flats combo, but the city is also diverse…and the style of real life Parisian women reflects that.
…as does IRO Paris, a clothing label founded by brothers Laurent and Arik Bitton back in 2004. We love it for its subtle edgy, rock-and-roll vibe and range of styles (skinny, flared, straight leg jeans, etc) made with high-quality stretch denim.
We love Mango here at Revelle, a brand that was founded in 1995 in Barcelona by two immigrants from Turkey: brothers Isak and Nahman Andic. They have pretty much every style you’d want, including flare, straight leg, wide leg, skinny, slouchy, and mom jeans — plus low, medium, or high-waist. Earlier this year, they also announced a new sustainability-forward denim collection inspired by the Mediterranean Sea that leverages unique finishing technology to reduce water consumption by 30 million liters. And that’s just the start. They’ve made a commitment to sustainably source 100% of cotton and 50% recycled polyester by 2025, in addition to using 100% cellulose fiber from a “controlled origin” by 2030. They even signed the United Nations Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, which outlines principles to follow in order to reduce the industry’s contribution to climate change.
AllSaints is a household denim name here in the U.S., but it actually hails from across the pond in England! It was founded in 1994 as a menswear wholesale brand by Stuart Trevor and Kait Bolongaro. Fun fact: the name originated from Trevor’s nickname… “The Saint,” which itself originated from his initials, ST. He also happened to spend a fair amount of time at All Saints Road in the neighborhood of Notting Hill. Today, the brand is known for its rock-and-roll vibe and mix of both vintage and modern-inspired skinny jeans, boyfriend jeans, and ultra-popular high-stretch body-shaping jeans. They also carry denim dresses, shorts, and skirts.
Rivaling AllSaints in popularity is MIH Jeans, a brand that’s less well known here in the states but iconic in England. It dates back to the 1960s, a politically-charged time that gave rise to a counterculture embracing an alternative way of living — a way that represented personal liberation, peace, and love. It was during this time that jeans emerged as more than a product of workwear function and instead both a fashion trend and statement of freedom. MIH — which, at the time, was known as Made in Heaven — channeled this young, hip, rock-and-roll style with their jeans, eventually re-branding in 2005 with a more polished, modern but retro vibe. Today, the brand is known for its minimalistic detailing and variety of fabric washes.
Italy has no shortage of high-quality denim brands, Diesel included. It was founded by Renzo Rosso in 1978, a time when diesel was emerging as an alternative fuel, which inspired Rosso to create an alternative to the existing casual-wear denim market. Today, the brand offers skinny, slim, straight, bootcut/flared, and boyfriend jeans.
Other notable Italian brands? Gas, Replay, Freddy (a deceptively American name), Patrizia Pepe, Fiorella Rubino, and, of course, Armani and Gucci.
Because Sweden is located in the northern corner of Europe, certain regions and cities see their fair share of year-round snow. But that certainly doesn’t stop locals from spending time outside — there’s even a familiar refrain that “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.”
So when it comes to Swedish denim brands, you can rest assured knowing quality, durability, and functionality are top of mind. And because this eco-conscious nation is incredibly bike-friendly, expect the perfect amount of give and stretch for sustainable denim that moves with you all day long. Monochromatic minimalism is also a hallmark of Swedish style.
Popular brands include Nudie Jeans, known for their use of sustainable raw denim and indigo dyes, Iggy Jeans, known for their customized signature designs on new and vintage clothing (dubbed “practicality meeting punk”), and Weekday Jeans, known for their sustainable denim as well as their wildly popular Zeitgeist T-shirt.
Tokyo is known for its unique — and arguably unrivaled — street style. The Harajuku neighborhood in particular is home to locals and tourists alike who embrace eccentric, rule-breaking fashion that plays around with proportions (think dramatic, wide-leg pants and boxy suits) and colors (expect bold primary color blocks and graphic black and white T-shirts).
Denim-wise, it’s impossible to talk about Japan without mentioning Momotaro, the country’s highest quality, made-by-hand denim brand. Pieces are stitched by artisans in the coastal town of Dojimi, then sent to Okayama for washing.
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