how to distress your own denim

how to distress your own denim how to distress denim how to distress denim how to distress denim My grandfather use to always joke about the fact that my sister and I paid extra money for jeans with holes in them.  He legitimately thought we were crazy.

After about the hundredth joke, and my college internship at 7 For All Mankind, I began to realize that he had a fair point. I started testing out all sorts of different distressing tactics which resulted in two things:

1. A holey/torn/ripped/splattered/bleached/disintegrated denim wardrobe.
2. An easy four step formula to the perfectly distressed pair – complete with a LEAF how-to video, duh!

Distressing your own denim has never been so easy. Ready, set, go!

You’ll Need:
– Razor
– Cardstock
– Pencil
– Block
– Sandpaper
– Scissors

1. SLICE: Find your knee placement by folding each leg to the zipper then mark with a pencil where the folds are. Place cardstock inside the jeans behind the knee. Press firmly with razor blade and cut horizonal lines, leave 1/4″ in between cuts. Continue making small cuts on front pocket, back pocket & belt loop

2. CUT: Cut the bottom back hem about 1/4″ from the bottom.

3. SAND: Wrap sandpaper around block and heavily sand in areas where distress is desired


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  1. Great video, but I still don’t get it.

    As a woman of color, I find that I cannot wear my jeans that way and still be treated with respect. If I go into a nice store or to the airport dressed like that, I am ALWAYS profiled. Always. When my jeans are too ripped to wear(and for me, “too ripped” means any rips at all)I save them for gardening or throw them away. But I have learned never to wear them in public.

    Could someone please explain to me why these jeans are cool? I’m lost here.

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