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Denim is a world far beyond five-pocket blue jeans. These five brands represent the most interesting, unique, and boundary-pushing approaches to the humble fabric, while still being totally wearable. A number of the collections here are gender-neutral (in a way that's more forward-thinking than "boyfriend jeans"), and a handful use vintage pairs as their jumping off point, giving them fresh perspective and new life. From perfectly-patched '70s Levi's to unisex cocoon dresses, these are the designers to look for when expanding your denim wardrobe.
Who: Director slash designer Juju Sorelli's various visual projects — fashion and beyond — live within a nameless boutique located inside a blue house in Hollywood. There you can shop her own unisex line Hollywood Savage Society as well as work by her friends, like the brand JFO by Matthew Damhave, co-founder of Imitation of Christ.
When: February 2014
Why: Seventies punk nostalgia, thoroughly modernized for today.
Who: An anonymous designer's "non-gender, non-demographic" made-in-LA line, which employs amorphic shapes you've never seen anywhere else.
What: "Everyone can relate to denim, everyone can relate to neutral shapes. It's a little Japanese," the secretive designer told Racked. Oversize is taken to the next level, as evidenced in unisex cocoon dresses that come in standard denim ($400) as well as made-to-order shredded denim ($900).
Why: A shift in proportions and a very modern reconsideration of the concept of gender, all in one.
Who: The vintage obsessives behind NYC-based e-shop Where I Was From give new life to old jeans.
When: Fall 2012
Why: They're totally unique, with each patch adding a layer of history.
Who: Co-founded by Jamie Mazur and Sean Barron. Mazur is the longtime partner of Alessandra Ambrosio (which helps explain how the brand lands girls like Bella Hadid and Camille Rowe for its campaigns).
When: Summer 2014
What: Vintage Levi's reworked in five covetable silhouettes including shorts, high-rise, and a looser fit. Everything's done in downtown Los Angles using water conserving methods and no harsh chemicals.
Why: Reliable vintage jean shopping with a hyper-detailed fit guide and cool details like cheeky patches and playful embroidery.
Who: Denim is but a (standout) point of this ready-to-wear collection, which also offers elegant hand-dyed linen pieces. Everything the brand does is made of Japanese textiles in the US, between its design studio in New York City and production office in Los Angles.
When: Relaunched 2011
Why: Details and silhouettes that are striking, but not overdone.