A great pair of jeans or a wear-with-everything denim jacket is a staple part of any city dweller’s wardrobe. But there’s more to know about jeans than just picking between an indigo or vintage wash. Here are five brands bringing something fresh to Melbourne’s denim scene.
1 UNBREAKABLE SPIRIT
The jeans and jackets at Saint (pictured left) aren’t just about capturing a slick aesthetic. They’re tough – really tough. Each pair is made using a fibre called Dyneema (also used to armour Apache helicopters and tether space stations), which is blended between the denim’s warp and weft. So while they have the look and feel of everyday jeans, they’re ideal to wear while working outdoors or doing anything life-threatening, like motor biking. “The reason we started the brand was because we were sick of getting off our bikes in hot, heavy leathers that made us look like storm troopers,” explains Xavier Unkovich, one of the brand’s co-owners. “We wanted to find a solution where you didn’t have to compromise looks for safety – or vice versa.” In an Australian first, the brand has opened a pop-up on Chapel Street that allows shoppers to ride their bikes from the street into the store.
2 PERFECT FIT
The premise behind Dejour is simple: great jeans sold direct from the factory outlet with free, same-day alterations to deliver that elusive perfect fit. It’s a model that’s resonated with Melbourne’s denim heads, who are quite happy to endure the 40-minute queues for a change room as long as it means going home with the goods. You won’t ever see the label advertise – Dejour’s reputation has spread entirely by word of mouth. File this one under cult classic.
3 REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE
Founded in Melbourne in 1999, Nobody Denim is a brand as dedicated to sustainable practice as it is to delivering season after season of banging styles. Locally made in Thornbury, accredited with Ethical Clothing Australia and often incorporating repurposed fabrics in its designs, Nobody’s wares are also made with the approval of the Textile Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia and Sustainability Victoria. The brand recently created a capsule collection made using repurposed materials for David Jones, bringing the fashion revolution to the mainstream.
4 BIG IN JAPAN
“I started Godspeed as a way of introducing Japanese denim, clothing and accessories to Melbourne and, ideally, the world,” says Martin Kirby. Stocking brands like Tanuki, Rats, Red Cloud and other premium international labels, Godspeed also sets itself apart by offering a special denim repair service executed on vintage industrial sewing machines. Kirby’s personal pick? “I’m currently wearing Radiall 350B jeans,” he says. “They’re the jeans and brand that inspired me to open Godspeed. I bought my first pair five years ago in Tokyo and I’ve worn this model almost exclusively since then.”
5 RADICAL TRANSPARENCY
Denimsmith makes it easy to be a conscious consumer by housing its factory in the same space as its Brunswick East shopfront, offering a completely transparent supply chain from factory floor to the consumer. Owner and maker Vinh Le has been in the garment trade for more than 25 years, keeps his business sustainable, ethical and local, and is a keen advocate for workers’ rights. If you’ve ever wondered who made your clothes, just head to Denimsmith and watch the magic happen.
Photography: Adrian Lander
Styling: Karen Evans