• Monumental Magazine

Guide to Upcycling Denim

By Michelle Tannahill



Fashion trends are constantly changing every day, making it a tad difficult to keep up with all the alterations. Clothing goes out of style faster than you can snap your fingers and it doesn’t care how much money you spent on it. Fortunately, there is one article of clothing that seems to always be in style and will never let you down: denim. No matter where you shop, denim will likely be in the picture. Quality denim has been reused and recycled for years; when it no longer serves its owner for one purpose, it is passed on to the next. So, how can you upcycle your old or thrifted denim into a unique addition to your closet?


The first step is to pick your denim item, whether is be jeans, shorts, jackets, etc. Once you have that step down, there are a variety of ways to transform your piece. I am a huge fan of cropping denim jackets and fraying them at the bottom. You can also show more of your own style by ironing on a patch, painting a logo on the back, or sewing on new buttons to add an extra flare. If you are artistically challenged like myself, you can find an array of stencils online that will help guide your creation. If you don’t want to paint the back, try to find a square of patterned fabric that you can sew to the back for a more colorful look!

If you choose to upcycle an old pair of jeans, your possibilities are endless. You can cut them and make a new pair of shorts, outline the pockets with silver and gold studs, or even sew on patches of different shades of denim if you are looking to create a super unique look. Last summer, I cut a pair of old, black Levi’s, added some gold studs to the pockets and I was all set for festival season!


Upcycling allows you to transform an old item into something new and you’ll be saving money while also having a unique piece that you created yourself. Along with that, it is a sustainable practice and will help the environment little by little if we all participate. If you don’t have any old denim to use, thrift stores are the best place to get it for cheap. Just find a piece you love and work your magic!



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