Your Denim Upgrade: 4 Brands to Know

These labels are making waves in today’s denim scene.
Like many a storied hero, denim has a checkered past. Born in a small village in France, raised on the farm in the United States, it spent its rebellious years raising hell — and changing everything — in the mid-20th century. Today, a great pair of jeans or a wear-anywhere denim jacket is right up there with the LBD and the perfect white T-shirt in the wardrobe hall of fame. Yet denim’s evolution is far from over. It continues to be reinvented (and perfected) in surprising ways.
Here, the labels, both under the radar and established, that are making the old standby feel completely fresh.

The premise behind the Feel Studio Inc., a denim company founded by Stevie Dance, the fashion director of the indie British magazine Pop, is a bit like the plot of “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.” One pair of jeans with a magical ability to fit and flatter all sorts of body types — and endless ways to wear them.
“Fit is what we really focus on,” Ms. Dance said. “It doesn’t matter how cool the wash is or how great the fabric is. Ultimately it always comes down to how you feel in them.” The Feel formula for feeling yourself? Classic, straight-cut jeans (“not high rise, not low rise, somewhere between,” she said) made from nonstretch denim sourced from the heritage supplier Cone Denim. The style comes in two lengths and a range of sizes.
“People have been buying two, actually,” Ms. Dance said. “One to wear tighter, one to wear more relaxed. One to wear cropped, the other to wear long and cuffed.”
For Lily Aldridge, mugging for the latest campaign for Levi’s Made & Crafted, was a natural fit. “I’m such a jeans-and-T-shirt kind of girl,” she said. That’s the kind of thing a supermodel can get away with saying. Her love of denim, however, long precedes her modeling days.
“My dad was always wearing the coolest denim jackets,” Ms. Aldridge said. “I’ll never forget when he bought me one. I must have been around 5. I thought I was the coolest kid on the block!” It’s not a surprise, then, that her favorite look in the new Levi’s collection — inspired by a world-traveled, independent woman — is the denim-on-denim ensemble. “It’s so cool and timeless,” she said.

Closed may be under the radar in the United States, but it has a notable history. Founded in 1968 under the name Ça, the company was Italy’s first denim-focused label.
Since then, it has switched names, and owners, a few times, but as its current collection attests, it remains committed to a classic-with-a-twist aesthetic and traditional craftsmanship. For proof, check out its signature X-pocket jeans, handmade from sustainably produced denim, processed in a family-run business and washed using eco-friendly technologies.

When Ksenia Schnaider was growing up in Ukraine, jeans — that most American of basics — were far from everyday. “In my childhood, we had only one pair of jeans in our house,” said Ms. Schnaider, a designer. “My mother and father both wore it. They shared it. It was like having a fur coat or something.”
That memory inspired Ms. Schnaider to devote an entire collection to the utilitarian fabric that so dazzled her as a child. In the new lineup, made by hand in her studio in Kiev, denim is treated like silk or fine wool. There are patchwork corsets, prim shirtdresses and this sophisticated trench coat.   formal dresses nz