JOIN the AFICIONADOS
To receive our world of travel and style delivered straight to your inbox.
When Maria Erixon established fashion brand Nudie Jeans in 2001 in Sweden’s Gothenburg, ‘fairtrade’, ‘responsible consumerism’ and ‘organic’ were not yet the design buzzwords they are today. Driven to expose the ‘naked truth’ about denim, Nudie Jeans came into being, a denim brand for the fashion savvy that focus on the quality and longevity of their product.
A pair of Nudie Jeans is meant to be worn intensively, beaten up, repaired and lived in with love, for years on end. Erixon has not even washed her favourite pair for over six years.
"The more you wear and repair jeans, the more character they have", she stresses. “Denim is a living fabric that changes over time – and they are for everyone, of all ages and genders."
Combining fashion’s most enduring material with the ancient technique of dying with the woad plant, Nudie Jeans is continuing a tradition that goes back centuries. The woad plant, used in Egypt as far back as 1000 B.C., is being revived by Nudie. (Its use declined because of the introduction of Indian indigo by Vasco da Gama in 1498.)
The laborious process has a mysterious alchemy to it. The green solution in which the garments are lowered and left to soak, leaves the denim yellow when taken out. In the air, the dye reacts with oxygen and turns green again, only after that it turns it characteristic glorious blue.
Only a limited number of garments can be dyed this way, as there’s only so much dyestuff to be extracted from a crop harvest – 1000 kilos of leaves makes 1 kilo of dye. No wonder Nudie Jeans recommends customers don’t wash their new pair for at least six months. At their Gothenburg shops (indeed, at all their international fashion premises), visitors are taken through the range and told where the jeans come from (India, Turkey and Italy) and how to care for them.
Nudie Jeans specialises in raw and prewashed denim jeans, but the company's collection also includes many other items of casual clothing & accessories.
When heading to Southern Sweden on your way to Gothenburg’s first boutique hotel, Hotel Flora, be sure to have the best clad legs out there. There are a handful of Nudie Jeans shops in town, one even a hop and skip away, around the corner on Vallgatan.