Ksenia Schnaider's upcycled denim is like nothing you've seen before

And again

Text: Jolene Khor

The Ukrainian designer duo weaves the old, used and unwanted into gold

Serendipity. It's not just the name of the highly problematic 2001 romantic comedy starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale. It's how Ksenia met Anton Schnaider — through mutual friends — years after the former's debut casual line struggled to take off; it's in the latter's splashy prints, birthed from his graphic design background, which when injected in his now-wife's cuts, fits and materials (more on that after the jump) make for a heterogeneous label ready for international fame.

Ksenia and Anton Schnaider

But before the Vogue features, prior to the Interview, Elle and Harper's Bazaar mentions, Ksenia Schnaider's experimentation with the upcycling of denim, the brand's raison d'être, spurred from its own episode of happenstance. 

"I've wanted to work with denim for ages, though I hesitated and put the idea aside," confessed Schnaider, whose friends' obsession with vintage mom jeans — she called them "flea market banana pants" — sparked her interest. Schnaider's early prototypes were bold. "I mixed jeans, bermudas and even a skirt. Then, I came up with a cut for trousers that evolved into our Demi-Denims. That's when I knew, this was it."

For those not in the loop, Demi-Denims is an extension of Schnaider's green thumb; her bread-and-butter turned golden ticket. Each pair of her bermuda-skinnies — often ripped at the knees with exposed seams at the hems — is a result of the deconstruction and reconstruction of three pairs of old denim sourced in and beyond Kiev. As such, no two are completely alike. Since the first roll out in 2016, Schnaider has expanded her denim mastery to shirts, skirts and jackets.

"It brought me back to practicality. Denim is probably the most practical material there is."

The thing about environmental practicality is that it's not always convenient. While Schnaider admitted that she would like to grow the eco aspect of the brand, it's not always financial viable. What some consider a restriction, Schnaider embraces as an untapped opportunity. When asked about her next trick on the eco turf, Schnaider revealed her cruise 2018 polestar: Denim fur. You'll be the first to view the "jackets that look like fur jackets, only they are made out of denim cutting" when they are ready. Until then, browse the above gallery for the entire catalogue of the fall/winter 2017 offerings, and Buro's picks in the one below.

Shop Demi-Denims here.


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