When Swedish denim brand Cheap Monday talk sustainability, they mean far more than a pair of jeans that’ll see you through the passing of seasonal trends. Though they’ve certainly got a knack for creating styles that can stay in your wardrobe for years to come, the famous skull stamped denim label, is now also tackling the issue of sustainable manufacturing. Embarking on a new journey to become the most sustainable focused jeanswear brand on the market, 72% of their spring/summer ’17 offering has been produced with organic cottons, with a 100% margin set for autumn/winter ’17.
Whilst sustainable and organic denims have something of a history of being overtly eco-themed, often at the expense of aesthetics, Cheap Monday’s offerings are still resolutely style focused. Available in a wide range of washes and cuts, from the classic to the more directional, each is easily identified through their labelling system and dedicated website pages.
While this smorgasbord of choices could easily leave you wondering where to begin, Clash happen to have Cheap Monday’s Head of Denim Carl Malmgren on speed dial to guide you through. Perhaps better described as a guru than mere guide, Malmgren has worked for the brand since it’s founding back in 2004, when it answered the call for affordably priced slim fit denims, advertising the sale of 800 pairs through flyering at Stockholm nightclubs. Here he offers some pearls of denim wisdom learnt during his tenure. A run down that’s refreshingly free and easy, laying emphasis on individual choice, as opposed to any specific stylistic do’s and don’ts.
Sustainability has become an important mission for Cheap Monday, what are the brands aims going forward?
We are focussing on this a lot, and I really feel that we have a responsibility when it comes to this issue. The whole fashion industry really needs to step back and realise what’s going on. We are now working more and more with recycled fibers in the post-consumer waste loop. We have textile recycling in all our stores, and encourage our customers to hand in their unwanted clothes, so these can be reused or recycled into new fibres. We are pushing this idea a lot with our C/O Cheap Monday concept which is our way of trying to find new, more sustainable ways of working with clothes. From this fall 100% of our cotton is organic which is also good of course. We still have a long way to go though, and it´s a task we put first on our list.
What's the best way to find a style of jeans that suits you?
The best way is to ask the staff in the store for help. If you´re online I suggest you check out fit guides and then also google it, to see what other people have to say about the fit.
Are there certain signs of a good fit, or bad fit to look out for?
I think that if it works for you then it´s a good fit, meaning that you are the only one to decide for yourself what is good or not. One thing to think about though is that stretch denims often have a tendency to grow a bit, so don´t buy them too big if you want them to sit tight.
And what about denim care? Once you’ve found your favourite pair of Cheap Monday jeans how can you make them last?
First of all, don´t wash them too much. I maybe wash my jeans once every three months or so! Then keep mending them if they break, and if you are not using them anymore, give them to someone else. You can always bring them a new life by cutting off or altering the fit. The more you customise, the better, if you ask me.
Cheap Monday were early champions of skinny jeans with the now trademark Tight fit. How have close-fitting styles evolved over the years?
The Tight fit will always have a place I think, due to the history it has in punk rock and those sort of things. We have seen many variations of the skinny now, from drop crotch styles to jegging styles to tech stretch focusing on the performance of the fabrics. We have seen the look being spread from punk rockers to fashion addicts to skateboarders, and now on the Yeezy guys wearing them stacked with an oversized sweatshirt.
Cheap Monday was founded 13 years ago, long enough now that it’s possible to own vintage pairs. Do you have any vintage style picks?
We never look back in that way as we’re not a nostalgic brand I think. But, I think we did have some fun with our Customised by Nature tour where we put our denims out in the forest and on rooftops for 2 years and then displayed them in a touring tree house that we put inside the stores. It gave us really weird and crazy wash effects from rain, snow and sun that was inspiring.
What new styles should we look out for in stores?
Right now my favourite is Sonic, which is our authentic slim fit. It has a slim fit but is not super duper stretchy, and the fabric has more weight and body to it. Another one is In Law which is slightly more roomy, top block with a cropped and tapered leg. A blue one drops in April and more washes follow by the end of this summer.
Shop women's sustainable styles here.
Shop men's sustainable styles here.
Photography: Claudius Ricketts