My denimhead addiction started, like so many peoples’ did, in the early Aughts with a pair of A.P.C. Petit Standards—the gateway drug of indigo obsessiveness. I spent much of the next decade geeking out over Japanese remakes of vintage 1940s miner dungarees and anything raw denim, the stiffer the better so I could suffer for the truly blessed fades (and awkward smells) that came with wearing an unwashed pair of jeans for months. Today I own enough banal blue jeans to warrant a separate dresser, a museum of esoteric indigo rarities.
But here’s the truth: I only wear two pairs of jeans consistently. Not because I’m bored of jeans—I’m just bored of rigid, conservative, jeans-lookin’ jeans. What I want now is denim that takes the usual five-pocket archetype and rips it—almost literally—to shreds. Which makes me blessed (and you, too, if you’re ready to go beyond everyday jeans), because there’s a ton of experimentation and innovation happening in denim here in 2021.
You ready to get weird? Dip your toe into the funky blue waters with patch-worked and distressed jeans from brands like Junya Watanabe and Kapital. Sacai is contorting jeans into Picasso-like abstractions, copy-pasting pockets and hardware into wild places on wilder silhouettes. Eckhaus Latta and Casablanca are crafting indigo acid trips you can wear. Designers are waging war on boring blue with bleach, paint, screen printing, and lasers.
If, like me, you’ve got pent-up pants energy waiting to bust loose in anticipation of the world re-opening, these funky jeans will set you free.
All products featured on GQ are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.