What started as a twill cotton cloth used for cheap durable uniforms in the late 1800s, became popular across the globe in the mid-20th century. Nowadays, denim jeans are a must-have in everyone’s closet. Though extremely popular, the denim industry is an environmental headache that isn’t talked about much—but definitely should be. With the shared mission to help ensure a more sustainable global denim consumption, two brands come together to launch the SS23 KSENIASCHNAIDER x DL1961 capsule collection of
sustainable, upcycled and reworked denim pieces.
Words by Fernanda Russomano
To make a single pair of denim jeans, 10,000 liters of water is required. What would take one person about 10 years to drink, is the volume of water required just to grow the kilogram of cotton needed for that single pair of jeans. Keeping circularity and sustainability in the brand’s DNA since its founding in 2008, the New York-based global brand DL1961 is a leader in denim innovation, creating clothes with waterless techniques and recycling 98 percent of the water used during manufacturing. In addition, to combat the repercussions of fast fashion, with textile waste increasing by the ton each year, the brand also focuses on recycling old jeans and plastic bottles and turning them into high-performance denim.
Photographed on the streets of the city that never sleeps, the collection’s campaign is set along the sidewalks and crosswalks of New York City and stars NYC-based model Natalie Lim Suarez, a household name in the fashion industry and ambassador of DL1961. “I am so excited to bring the DL1961 partnership with Ksenia Schnaider, Ukraine’s top sustainability designer, to the streets of NYC,” says Natalie. “This collaboration came about through a desire to create during times of adversity. Designed in Kyiv and New York, and produced in Pakistan, the collection is a global effort, bringing together creative minds from all over the world. I hope you find a piece you love to share your support for both brands. I personally am in love with the unique concept of denim fur. I will be keeping this collection in my closet forever.”
United by a shared focus on sustainability, DL1961 partnered with Ukrainian fashion designer Ksenia Schnaider, who is the co-founder of the brand KSENIASCHNAIDER alongside her Russian-born husband, graphic designer Anton Schnaider. Founded in 2011, the Kyiv-based independent fashion house covers women’s and men’s ready-to-wear collections made from reworked and upcycled denim. Known for her signature patchwork and “denim fur”, Ksenia’s innovative thinking and commitment to environmentally friendly practices makes for a perfect match between both brands.
When I first discovered Ksenia, I was so inspired by what she could create from denim. Her unique design aesthetic and drive to continue working through turmoil in Ukraine are proof of what a talented artist she is. Circularity, sustainability and creativity are just a few of the many values that our two brands share, making this collaboration an inspiration to all who have the pleasure of seeing it. Sarah Ahmed, DL1961 co-founder and chief creative officer
Mixing DL1961’s core silhouettes with Ksenia’s signature design details, this capsule collection proves that rethinking how we produce and consume clothing is not only possible but looks good too. With a selection of denim tops and bottoms in tones of light and medium blue, Ksenia’s patchwork technique graced a buttoned jacket, high-waisted shorts and two pairs of wide-leg jeans. The collection also features a crop top, a miniskirt and two high-waisted wide-leg jeans embellished by the designer’s signature denim fur, bringing a lightness and romance to the stiff denim fabric.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, many citizens had to flee the country in hopes of a safer situation, and Ksenia was one of them. “This collection means a lot to me,” says Ksenia. “I started working on it when I had to leave my homeland due to the war in Ukraine. It was a difficult time, and the work gave me hope and relief. I wanted to convey all my passion and love for life in the denim. This collection is my personal ode to peace.” She adds,
The collaboration not only reflects the strongest and brightest parts of the two brands, but it also reflects support, love, and passion for work. It’s about enhancing the power of denim and both brands’ conscious efforts towards sustainability. Ksenia Schnaider
All images courtesy of KSENIASCHNAIDER x DL1961.
Edited by Michaela Doyle
More information about KSENIASCHNAIDER x DL1961 SS23 capsule collection can be found at dl1961.com.