Worn, torn, fringed, patched, frayed . . . denim is, hands down, my favorite medium to destroy,mend, dyeembellish, and reconstruct. And what better way to scout inspiration than out on the streets. Better yet, the streets of fashion week! While standing outside of Tibi‘s runway show las tweek, I spotted the most glorious pair of frayed denim. (Update: looks like they were made by 3×1!) The fringe extended past the ankles, like a pair of Marques’Almeida jeans on crack. Honestly, yes. Let me at ’em!

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Any denim fit or wash will work for this project. I experimented on a pair of skinny jeans, however I’m excited to try them on a pair of flared denim, maybe this time with a shorter fringe. And did I mention the best part is that all you really need is a seam ripper?

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You’ll need:

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Cut the hem off the bottom of your jeans with a pair of fabric shears. Use your seam ripper to open up the vertical seams on both sides of each leg. The length is up to you but you might want to keep a ruler handy to measure the first rip.

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Remove all the threads from the binding seams.

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Now that all your seams are removed, you can start fraying! You’ll be removing the horizontal white threads, working from the inside of the denim. They run at a slight angle which is why the threads don’t just easily fall out by simply removing the seams. You will, however, find it easy to remove the first few loose threads.

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Now here is the trick. If you use the seam ripper to pick out a strand from the far left or right edge and then pull it horizontally, you’ll notice it’ll just slide right out! I say left or right because it just depends on how your jeans were constructed. If it doesn’t work on the left side, it should on the right.

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Continue pulling the threads out, using the seam ripper to give you a little head start each time.

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Because the white threads are at an angle, you’ll end up with a slight angle when you’ve reached the end of your rip on one side of the leg. Don’t worry, we can adjust that easily.

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Pull the threads from the shorter side down (here on the right) and drop them gradually (so that fall from left to right). You can either keep the white threads or remove them by carefully trimming them at the top.

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Repeat on all sides. Wash and dry as normal!

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I love the look of the strands of indigo clumped together after they get out of the dryer, but you can always separate them by running your fingers through them. Happy fraying!

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(top images via Le 21ème, Vogue & Tommy Ton; rest of images by HonestlyWTF; denim by Madewell, shoes by Aquazzura; 3×1 cropped frayed denim available for purchase here)