As always the beauty of Instagram is new discoveries, and new British sustainable denim brand Iden Denim is the perfect example. When I came across their imagery and grid I immediately fell in love…
The en pointe styling (just every outfit for autumn please!) the colours, the denim, the vibe. A few weeks later I had the pleasure of meeting the two ladies behind the brand in their London studio to find out more before their launch early next year. But if, like me, you can’t wait, you can preorder some of the coolest SS18 pieces – I’m obsessed with these slim-fit jeans and I also styled up one of the fab denim jackets here…!
So What’s It All About?
In a nutshell, Elaine and Carrie have created a sustainable organic & recycled denim brand, both versatile and seasonless, with strong British styling and premium detailing but at more affordable prices. As Elaine told me:
“A lot of denim brands out there are very LA inspired, a few Australian, the whole Scandi trend and Japanese denim. But there is very little denim that feels British. It was all about styling really. I see people wearing denim all the time, to work, to dinner and there’s a perception that it’s casual.
“Fundamentally it is, but then you see a lot of girls styling it in a very feminine, pretty way. People can wear denim in a very smart way, and look very sharp in it. It’s that, styling denim up in a pretty, feminine way, that gives our brand its own unique handwriting.”
Passionate about sustainability and using organic and recycled fabrics, Carrie gave me a real insight into the process:
“You can’t actually make 100% soft, desirable recycled denim because the yarns are too short, so you have to go 50% organic cotton and 55% recycled cotton. For small orders, it is difficult for the quality to be controlled because of the way the looms are set up. So you have to get smart and try and use the same fabric across styles. We’ve got a partnership with a fantastic Turkish denim mill – who are pioneering premium sustainable denim and they have a whole collection of denim, which is completely traceable.
“They’re at the forefront of innovation and using organic and recycled fibers. And partnering with the right factories – because there’s no point buying organic fabrics and then getting them made in factories where they’re not adhering to sustainable practices.
“Our leather patches are recycled leather, so they’re all offcuts which they mush into a pulp and squish back together, like paper. It’s been great to start from nothing and build in all these elements to make Iden as sustainable as possible. And our prints are digitally printed which uses less water.”
British Styling and Vintage Inspiration
The denim aside, what really pops out from the collection are the stunning prints, like the pink and green wrap dress. Elaine explains how important it was to them to find their own unique reference points:
“We found a really beautiful 1930s long bias cut pink & green jacquard dress, which we hired from a huge theatre costume supplier – row after row of clothes, each aisle a different a decade! All the prints Carrie has done in house, but they are inspired by vintage, interpreted in a more modern way. The pinafore dress is based on a 1970s style we found.”
The key denim fits are named after British iconic female pioneers, Elaine and Carrie tell me:
“This idea originally came from trying to find the women on the blue plaques in London. It’s actually quite hard to find women on the blue plaques; it’s nearly 95% men! A lot of the women we’ve chosen are scientists and writers, pioneers in their field. So for example, the skinny is named after Josephine Butler, a feminist and social reformer from the Victorian era.
“The slim fit is named after Radclyffe Hall, a poet and high society lesbian in the 1920s, she was quite a dramatic figure and used to dress quite dandy! The boyfriend jean was named after Virginia Woolf and the flare after Margot Fonteyn – the Fonteyn flare gives you the longest leg! The kick flare was named after Aida Lovelace, a mathematician and the only legitimate child of Lord Byron.”
Attention To Detail
One of Elaine’s legacies from Gap is to offer more than one inseam. “The median customer inseam is actually 28 inches. So we do a couple of inseams, a 30 and 32-inch. Our slim is 27 and our straight rolls up to 27, so they’re very wearable. The flare we’re offering with two inseams so you can wear with a high heel or a flat. And rather than just changing the length from the bottom of the flare, we’ve made sure the break (where the flare begins on the leg) sits at the right place too.”
And The Name?
Pronounced “eye-den”. It’s a play on words, Elaine, who came up with it, explains. “A play on identity and denim – because denim is the foundation for this collection and for most people’s wardrobes. I like the fact it sounds a little like ‘eden’ – there’s something quite clean and minimal about it.”