The Painted Jeans Trend Is Here To Bring Out Your Inner Artist

Natasha Bird
Photo credit: Getty Images

From ELLE

Since denim's ascension to daywear staple in the mid-19th century, it's seen more re-incarnations than probably any other fabric.

We've deconstructed it and re-constructed it, we've patchworked and embellished it, we've given it hardware and frayed it at the edges. And, like many trends, our taste in denim design is cyclical.

The latest denim bent to come back around for 2020 is painted jeans and this year's crop takes a few different guises. There are the splattered, splodged jeans, inspired by interior decorating or artists' studios, bearing the marks of overzealous Farrow & Ball usage or the rebound flecks from Jackson Pollock-esque creations.

Photo credit: Victor VIRGILE - Getty Images

Then there is the treatment of jeans as the canvas themselves, showcasing everything from seam-dwelling doodles through to a series of self-portraits.

Indeed supermodel of the moment Bella Hadid recently posted a series of Easter-time snaps of her frolicking through woodlands sporting a pair of '60s-referencing painted jeans by fellow model and artist Juliet Johnstone.

Of course, there's also the Off-White mode of jean decoration - spray painted jeans to emulate street tagging.

If you're in the market for a ready made solution, there is already a wide range of painted jeans available to you from trusted brands, whether splatter or masterpiece is your preference...

If, on the other hand, you're looking to flex your own creative muscles, painting your own denim during lockdown, there are just a couple of things you need to know in advance.

How To Paint Jeans

  • Firstly, why buy new denim if your plan is to attempt customisation? You'd do much better heading to a local (or online) vintage store or charity shop and nabbing a cost-effective pair which won't matter too much if the first attempt goes awry.
  • Or better yet, try your hand at customising a pair of jeans that you already own but which have been collecting dust at the back of the cupboard.
  • Next up, you'll want to wash them and let them dry thoroughly, as you don't want any dirt or other residues to sit between the paint and the denim, any of which could prevent your artwork from standing the test of time.
Photo credit: Estrop - Getty Images
  • Then, you'll want to invest in some good quality acrylic paints, as these paints are not water soluble and won't stain all your other clothes in the wash.
  • You also might want to grab yourself a series of differently sized paint brushes. Acrylic does not wipe, nor wash off easily, so if you make a mistake, you're going to have to incorporate it into your design. Best advice? Start small, as small mistakes can easily be painted over.
  • If you're creating a design in a concentrated space, such as a back pocket, you can use masking tape around the border of your design, to prevent paint creeping over the lines onto the rest of the denim.
  • And finally, be brave, be bold, this is your time to shine.

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