New Blues: Three Cult Brands Redo Denim

Remember when the only acceptable day to wear jeans at work was Casual Friday? How far we’ve come since denim was strictly off-duty. Lately our office hosts denim-on-denim (sometimes -on-denim) showdowns—and we don’t mind one bit.

The material has been assimilated into all lifestyles, evolving from its workwear roots to become a staple of an elegant wardrobe. To that end, we can’t wait to wear these jeans this fall. When it comes to just-right denim that works at work and on the weekends, these brands have earned their reputations through innovation.

MiH Jeans in New York City

3X1 fall 2015 denim


“There’s something really challenging and rewarding about starting from scratch each season and using the same material, but telling different stories with it,” says 3×1 founder Scott Morrison. He had already started denim houses Earnest Sewn and Paper Denim & Cloth, before beginning 3×1, a company that creates made-to-measure jeans right in their New York Mercer Street location. The city that never sleeps and girls who stay up all night inspired each design in the new collection. Its contemporary styles (like dark-rinse skinnies and clean flares) easily slip into the evening, especially the high-rise Channel Seam skinny jeans, with their ultra-slimming effect. “Candidly, I’ve not made a more flattering jean in these past 17 years of designing denim,” says Morrison.


Blue jeans may be quintessentially American, but former Swedish model Erika Stromqvist is injecting her line, STRÖM, with a covetable Scandinavian sensibility. Stromqvist draws on heavy indigo washes and loose silhouettes tempered by structure to create collections that are timeless and honest, if not a bit moody. When designing denim, Stromqvist simply follows her gut. “What feels right is right,” she says. We’re betting having over two decades of experience in fashion working at Marc Jacobs, Ann Demeulemeester and Balenciaga helps, too. Tried-and-true blues achieve effortless cool under her functional aesthetic. Take the Delhi: joggers in a smoky wash with a pleated waist and mid-calf ribbed hems. They’re delightfully boyish but soft and live up to Stromqvist’s belief that “true style is liberating.”

MiH Jeans

MiH Jeans studio

MiH Jeans MarrakeshChloe Lonsdale, a Central Saint Martins graduate and founder of MiH Jeansgrew up against the backdrop of her family’s business, the Jean Machine, during the ’70s denim revolution. And, boy, does it show in this season’s richly dyed skinnies, high-rise flares and blanket cardigans. Thanks to Lonsdale’s minimalist leanings, though, nothing feels overdone. Instead, like the spare photography of Linda McCartney that inspired this season, her touchable textures and elongating silhouettes bring a spirited refinement to counterculture cool. “We took this inspiration and used it throughout the collection, translating it into mannish tailoring with glimpses of a grown-up party spirit. It’s the perfect wardrobe for the cold weather we get in London,” said Lonsdale. We think the Marrakesh creates a perfect legs-for-days power silhouette for fall.

Shop Nordstrom Fall Denim.

—Katie Joy Blanksma