Denim is synonymous with modern style. From straight leg jeans to oversized shackets and even sculptural dresses and skirts, the fabric has run rife in our wardrobes over the past decade. And while there’s a long history of denim to look at, the future is even more interesting. The conversation around sustainable styles started a few years ago but brands are continuing to push the bounds with their approach to fabrics and fits that are increasingly planet-friendly and size-inclusive.

We all know that shopping for jeans can be somewhat of a strain. But these Aussie and Kiwi brands are a good place to start when looking for your next favourite pair – or a Canadian tuxedo perhaps.

Marle

Made from 100 per cent organic cotton denim, Marle’s range of jeans echoes the Kiwi brand’s timeless sensibility. The wide leg silhouette is a particular favourite for its high-rise fit that sits close to the waist and hips before falling to a subtly flared hem. It is recommended to size up in this style, as well as the brand’s straight leg pairs for a more relaxed look.

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Assembly Label

It’s no surprise that Assembly Label does good denim. From the vintage straight, everyday relaxed and its signature slim jeans to denim overshirts and high-waisted shorts, the brand has your classics covered. Notes on fits are featured on product pages, and there is an extensive denim size guide to help you find your new favourite pair.

Kowtow

Another New Zealand name to add to your denim repertoire, Kowtow cuts its signature Sailor jeans in a range of timeless and trending shades each season. There’s also a loyal following for the brand’s classic silhouette and straight style, as well as seasonal ready-to-wear pieces like skirts, jackets and jumpsuits. The brand recently announced it has completely removed plastic from its production process, meaning these denim styles are totally circular.

Elka Collective

Utility is at the heart of Elka Collective’s denim range.The Odin, Edmond and Athena jeans demonstrate timeless simplicity in the cut, colour and craftsmanship. The Melbourne brand’s use of 100 per cent rigid cotton denim adds to the classic appeal of these styles.

Peachay

Peachay, a brand dedicated to fitting hourglass figures just so, currently offers five signature cuts: Aviva, Shannon, Jolene, Hannah and Olivia. The brand doesn’t use traditional sizing, instead it opts for names like “sunflower”, tulip” and “lily” to indicate fit. The general rule is to shop according to your waist size (that’s where the high-rise jeans will sit), as its hip-to-thigh measurements are designed to be around a size-and-a-half larger.

St Agni

St Agni translates its quintessential effortless into a range of cool-girl denim. This season sees relaxed-fit silhouettes with floor-skimming hems reign supreme. If you’re in pursuit of the perfect denim maxi skirt, this collection is also worth a browse. The Byron Bay-born brand recently opened new boutiques in Sydney and Melbourne so you can now try signature styles on IRL.

P Johnson

A favourite for its timeless tailoring, P Johnson’s denim collection is endearingly classic. Tailored finishes complete the label’s two key unisex styles: Tony (named for designer Patrick Johnson's father) and Chris. Both are available in light and mid indigo washes, as well as monochrome options. Each pair is made in Italy from certified organic cotton and comes pre-shrunk for the perfect fit.

Maggie Marilyn

Thoughtfully considered garments, which are made using high quality fabrics and processes that are kind to people and the planet, is the name of the game at New Zealand brand Maggie Marilyn. Its small collection of comfortable and everyday denim features signature styles each season: the Freddie is a current must-have.

Nobody Denim

Committed to sustainable practices and local manufacturing, Nobody Denim’s collection of premium staples is an easy go-to. Using organic cotton fabrics, natural dyes and recycled yarns, the Melbourne-based label cuts trending and timeless silhouettes in an array of classic and seasonal washes. Covering all your denim needs, there’s also a clutch of versatile shorts, skirts and jackets as well as a petite range featuring the brand’s signature fits.

Sir

Sir might be most loved for its eye-catching dresses and modern tailoring, but the brand’s collection of denim doesn’t disappoint. There is a relaxed ease to the classic styles that arrive in varying indigo, black and ecru hues each season. But the way the label masterfully manipulates denim into trending dress and jacket silhouettes is what truly makes Sir’s collection tick.

Outland Denim

Jeans that are good for the planet and you capture the essence of Outland Denim’s mission. Ethically made with organic cotton, zero harmful chemicals and vegan materials, the brand offers a bunch of signature styles, as well as fashion-forward collaborations with labels like Karen Walker and Ajes. The Australian brand also focuses on supporting women by providing ethical employment, training, healthcare and education.

Scanlan Theodore

Scanlan Theodore’s refined approach to wardrobing translates across the brand’s denim collection. Tailored silhouettes in classic indigo, raw denim and natural hues are a staple season after season. But structured cocoon-sleeved jackets and statement dresses promise to elevate the everyday fabric to higher status this season.

Rolla’s

Known for adding a contemporary twist to timeless classics, Rolla’s is a trusty choice when it comes to hard-wearing, lasting denim. The impressive range of silhouettes spans from vintage-inspired styles, such as the wide leg Sailor and Eastcoast Flare, to skinny and straight fits like the Heidi and Dusters.

Flowers by Sister Studios

A special project from Melbourne brand Sister Studios, Flowers uses deadstock denim to create its Only Jean and coordinating jacket. The dark indigo colourway fits with everything in your wardrobe. And the high-rise, straight-leg cut leans towards vintage-inspired styling. A logo leather patch seals this style with subtle branded appeal, staying true to the minimalist mood of the silhouette.

Henne

Henne’s denim collection continues to grow each and every season. The brand toes the line between waardrobe favourites and of-the-moment must-haves across its range. And the denim offering is no different. The Aurora shirt and Helena jacket prove its not all about pants. But the Valentina and Gisella jeans show up, too.

Denimsmith

Made on-site in its Melbourne storefront, Denimsmith’s sustainable range of (mostly) Japanese denim includes core styles like the Aubrey and Mabel jeans, along with much-loved cropped, flared and straight leg varieties. The Freida jacket, as well as denim shirts, skirts and shorts, are also part of the label’s cult collection, which is accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia.

Neuw

Neuw’s collection of effortless stretch denim blends Nordic design with the casual comfort Australians do best. Vintage-inspired styles with distressed finishes and raw hems rule the range. All silhouettes – with standouts including the Lexi and Edie jeans – come complete with the label’s trademark fob ring hanging from the front belt loop and a repair stitch at the back pocket.

Bassike

Bassike begs you to push the boundaries in your denim collection with its artful silhouettes. This season brings a range of relaxed fit jeans, as well as tops and skirts that confirm this fabric shouldn’t simply be confined to pants.

Ksubi

Experimental shapes and fabrications make up the distinctive aesthetic of streetwear favourite Ksubi. Jeans and denim jackets, skirts and shorts come in a range of worn-in washes, each detailed with the label’s telltale back cross embroidery and woven pocket tag. Oversized and ripped styles sit alongside the label’s enduring classics like the skinny Spray On and straight leg Brooklyn jeans.

Nudie

Dedicated to sustainable production and safe and ethical working conditions, Nudie’s collection of rigid denim is not only made from 100 per cent cotton, but also provides product transparency for every stage of production – from raw material to manufacturing and transportation. Key styles include the Breezy Britt and Lofty Lo, and are made to be well-worn and mended – with a promise of free repairs for life.

Read and shop Broadsheet’s men’s denim edit.

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This article was first published on May 17, 2023 and has since been updated.