Stretching the jean pool

2011-09-16 09:12

There’s an idiom that goes “it’s the best thing since sliced bread”. However, when it comes to fashion, that idiom should be reinterpreted as “it’s the best thing since denim jeans”.

This staple of the fashion diet is the one item most people wear until it’s shredded – and they still refuse to throw it away.

Danica Lepen, brand manager and designer at Marion & Lindie, says: “Denim has emotional connotations for many people and letting go is never easy. The best thing to do is to find a way to reuse it.”

But there are ways to recycle that beloved old pair buried in your closet.

This year, the organisers of South African Fashion Week, in keeping with their theme of recycling, challenged students from various fashion schools to enter the Denim to Dress competition, where they could create couture pieces from old pairs of jeans.

Savannah Erasmus from SA Fashion Week says that the challenge took into account that new materials are difficult to come by in the fashion industry.

“Recycling materials is a very important part of the fashion industry as it encourages the designers to create unique textiles out of existing material.

“We don’t have easy access to new materials as the rest of the fashion world. Denim never goes out of fashion, so it made sense to focus on the material.”

This month, 14 finalists were chosen and their garments will go on display at the SA Fashion Week Winter Collections from September 23 to 25.

The overall winner will be announced on October 1.

Says Lepen: “I love how the students reused the denim. They’ve literally reinvented it to where it doesn’t resemble the old denim any more.”

Marion & Lindie is offering one of the winners a three-month internship.

Says Lepen: “A few years ago, my former business partner, Jacques (van der Watt of Black Coffee), made me a beautiful denim carpet. Denim is a durable material that lasts. I still have the carpet today.”

Menswear designer Ole Ledimo, who is also the competition judge, believes there are many things you can do with old denim.

“It’s a very versatile material. All it takes is a little imagination and you can turn denim into jewellery, bed linen, cushion covers, chair and couch upholstery, wall art and many other things.

“Just play around with the jeans,” he says.

» SA Fashion Week takes place at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Rosebank, Johannesburg, from September 23 to 25

» For more denim ideas, visit

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.