See more about this Episode
Denim has clearly come a long way since its humble beginnings. From our go-to boot-cuts to the wider silhouettes we've favored over the past few years to this polarizing, shockingly futuristic, knee-baring look, jeans have been rewriting the fashion rules since the early 20th century. The once-utilitarian fabric has transformed over the years into a designer standby, cropping up on lots of runways (see: here and here for fall '17 evidence). The women's jeans industry churns out a seams-bursting $8.5 billion global sales profit annually (that's a lot of trips to Madewell). And it shouldn't come as a huge surprise. After all, aren't we all chasing that ideal fit, pair after pair?
To better understand the universe's insatiable obsession with denim, we headed to DSTLD Los Angeles to get a glimpse at the mesmerizing process of jeans as they're shaped and sewn to perfectly hug every curve. Once the patterns have been meticulously drawn, the denim is cut and each piece stitched together by an army of whirring machines—some of which take an astonishing three to four years to learn how to operate. Next, they go through a stone-washing process to soften and tighten the yarn, ensuring that the indigo won't bleed when worn. (Spoiler: the sight of those freshly-made pairs being loaded into a vat full of rocks may be the most strangely soothing thing you see today.) Finally, the jeans are sanded with a warp brush and even blasted by shotgun pellets to give them that deconstructed, distressed feel. Watch the video above for a a behind-the-scenes look at how denim is made. We recommend hiding your credit card before pressing play.