Meet the Experts: Chloë Culpin, Vintage Denim Expert.

Meet the Experts: Chloë Culpin, Vintage Denim Expert.

For Second Hand September we have interviewed 10 experts in the field, delving into the world of vintage and secondhand. Covering categories such such fashion, furniture and watches we spoke with industry leaders about the boom in this ever growing category. Next up is Chloë Culpin, Founder of Pin Denim, our vintage denim expert.

For those that don’t know you, how would you describe yourself and what you do?
I’m founder of Pin Denim, a curated denim store and brand, sourcing the best vintage denim across various brands, styles and washes. Focusing on you finding the best fit, advising on sizing and styles that work for you and your body type, taking the stress out of jeans shopping- so everyone can walk away with that perfect fitting denim and be sustainable also. 

" just can’t recreate a vintage wash like an authentic pair, they just keep getting better with wear."
What was the inspiration behind Pin Denim and how did you develop the brand?

Denim has followed me and my career to date. I started my career in denim design which later led me into Personal shopping. During that time I helped hundreds of women find their perfect fitting jeans, it became apparent that whatever your age, size or body type jeans shopping is stressful. Having built quite the denim collection and always asked where I find my vintage denim, in lockdown it felt like the right time to put all my experience together, especially at a time when we couldn’t shop IRL. Since then that has expanded to pop ups and collaborations but still very much focused online with the offering on 1-1 appointments and sourcing service for those that would like more help or looking for something specific.

Why do you think consumers are gravitating towards pre-owned and vintage?
I think the quality of denim which would be classed as affordable is very expensive, high street denim sadly doesn’t have longevity that vintage denim. More so than ever people are more conscious than ever and more sustainably minded, being vintage or pre owned you can buy better quality at an affordable price point. There’s a reason why 20 plus years on these jeans are still going strong, there’s something also lovely that no one else is going to have the exact same pair as you. Plus you just can’t recreate a vintage wash like an authentic pair, they just keep getting better with wear.

What are you tips for buying vintage jeans and how to find the elusive perfect fit?
Know your measurements and forget what’s on the label. Modern day sizing and vintage sizing is very different, coming up smaller than modern day. Alterations will be your best friend, nipping in a waist or taking up a hem can be a game changer- change the mindset that for a pair of jeans to be perfect they have to fit off peg.

Be open to trying styles and fits you wouldn’t normally reach for, 80% of the time clients come away with a style or wash they would never imagine going for. Be prepared to go up to 1-2 sizes from your normal jean sizing, vintage sizing is very different coming up smaller plus the factor of not including any stretch.

Having your waist, hip and inseam measurement will really help in getting a close fit and being more aware of your sizing- have developed a sizing guide to help with this!

How does ethics and sustainability affect the way you navigate the brand and how do you implement sustainable practices?
The denim industry environmentally is not known for being the best and was the main factors for wanting to show how amazing vintage denim can be and no need to buy new. I keep a tight edit of stock, everything is purposely curated so no mass buying. I hand select everything based off quality, wash and fit, repair and repurpose wherever possible. Recently, have launched Pin Denim Cycle, a consignment service where you are able to pass on your unworn vintage denim to someone else to love.

"Alterations will be your best friend, nipping in a waist or taking up a hem can be a game changer."

How best to care for vintage denim to make last?
The good thing with vintage denim is that’s it’s hard wearing especially because they don’t include elastane. Always advise keeping washing to a minimum unless stained- wash on a cool wash no hotter than 30 degrees, wash inside out especially if darker denim or black. Don’t tumble dry or iron- steaming is a great way to refresh and remove any creases. Keep on top of any repairs- depending on denim and where have wear and tear, patch if needed on knees or the ‘seat’ of jeans so that they can be restored before unwanted rips or distressing gets too much. 

What trends are you seeing in vintage denim and how are consumers styling them?
Think relaxed slouchy denim is here to stay with more authentic darker washes, moving away from just a light blue stonewash. Also classic mid blue washes, think cool French girl vibes are coming in especially for A/W, those 90s straight leg cuts and styling coming back- definitely inspired! Simple is always best with a great pair of jeans, a white t shirt or vest with a jacket or blazer - those staple classics that can be elevated with accessories, of course a vintage gem from The Hosta!

Follow PinDenim on Instagram @pin.denim
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