While selvedge still pretty much rules the conversation in terms of men’s jeans, the denim debate for ladies often boils down to rise. From low-riders that create curves but pose muffin top risk, to seemingly-safer high-waisted silhouettes verging dangerously close to mom jeans, a perfect mid-rise looks current and flatters most body types. Entering the denim game this year is Neuw, an Australian label whose “Vintage Revision” take on denim, based on Swedish co-founder Par Lundqvist’s 2,500-piece archive, updates the styles of decades past with cuts for today.
The softness of the denim in the Marilyn Skinny from Neuw’s Black Colour range, which I’ve been wearing for the past month, speaks to the brand’s vintage influences, feeling more like a worn-in standby pair than stiff new jeans. While the denim’s pedigree is important, the right fit remains the foremost concern.
When I first pulled them up to my navel, I expected that dreaded elongated rear, but was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. Neuw’s womenswear designer Phoebe Taylor explains the design details were styled so that “your butt looks the perkiest it ever has. The high-retention denim used to complete this fit holds the wearer in, and as a result, it’s going to be très sexy.”
The advanced approach to fit disguises itself under the line’s decidedly retro-influenced aesthetic. Initially created as a “sharp alternative” to indigo, the Black Colour line expands beyond dark tones with a range of neutrals and bolder hues like red and pink. While candy colors continue as a staple denim look these days, Neuw’s approach incorporates a black weave on the inner layer, instead of the usual white—a method not typically used since the ’50s—to create the perfect patina over time. Another distinguishing detail: Neuw brings premium Japanese and Turkish denim into a more accessible price range, hovering around $150.
Taylor tells us they work to improve upon the timeless style by culling the best details from their extensive vintage stock. “We reminisce about the years of the depression in the 1930s, and ogle the beautiful care that was taken in repairing garments and getting the most out of what was available,” Taylor describes. “We have taken this appreciation on board when creating new styles in this climate. It’s the days of the DIY culture.”
Neuw, in working with the challenges of designing for different body types, while also competing in the over-saturated denim market, earns the rare distinction of bringing a fresh perspective to women’s jeans. The collection sells at their Melbourne flagship, Stockholm Syndrome, and in stores around the world.