• Start Here
  • Shop

Three Ways To Retire Your Worn Raw Denim

It is a sad day that every denim enthusiast must grapple with – the day that a beloved pair of jeans, perfectly worn from hard and raw to soft and broken-in, must be retired. There comes a point, maybe after multiple crotch or knee blowouts or other unsightly damage, that what were once jeans look more like rags and must stop being worn.

Luckily, when this time comes, there are a few options that can preserve the memory of your jeans through either repurposing or displaying the pair. With that in mind, we would like to share some ideas on what we think can be done with retired raw denim.

1. Repurposing

Nudie's Retired Denim Rug

Nudie’s Retired Denim Rug

Denim is a very versatile fabric, and as a result your worn-out raw denim can be repurposed in a variety of ways, assuming of course that you can muster up the courage to dissect your perfectly worn pair of jeans. Segments of your jeans can be used in many different projects, from rugs and tote bags to iPhone cases and as spare material for patching up your next pair of raw jeans once they begin to give out.

With a little imagination and courage you can convert your raw jeans into an equally usable piece that will remind you of the time you spent living in your beloved pair. There are many sources around the internet that detail projects which can be done with old, worn denim, to give it a new lease on life.

2. Donation

Bonded Logic Ultratouch Denim Insulation

Bonded Logic Ultratouch Denim Insulation

Though it may be difficult to part with your well-worn jeans by simply donating them, it is a viable and appreciable option for those that are no longer passable for daily use. Assuming they’re still somewhat in-tact, you could donate them to a Goodwill, The Salvation Army, or a similar charitable organization where they will be moved along and given a new life and new wearer.

Alternatively, they could be donated to the famous Jeans Museum or a company like Bonded Logic, who takes worn out jeans and turns them into an environmentally friendly insulation; preventing jeans from finding their way into landfills.

There are a variety of outlets for those aiming to donate their jeans to a better cause and continue their life. Regardless of the final use, there is sure to be a cause that you will feel is worthy of your denim, as well the time and money that you put into it.

3. Display

Denim Displayed via Self Edge San Francisco

Denim on display at Self Edge San Francisco

If you’re really proud of the years of effort that went into your denim fades and can’t bear to part with them, displaying them is an ideal alternative. Framing the jeans in a display case similar to those used for sports memorabilia, like jerseys, is a solid and simple choice, not unlike how Self Edge has showcased some of their best faded raw denim (see photos above).

Once you have worn your jeans to the point of no repair, there is sure to be an appropriate retiring denim option, from repurposing to donating to displaying. Are there other ways that you’ve put your denim to use? Let us know in the comments below.

Join today and gain instant access to:

2 product giveaways per month
Exclusive Heddels+ articles and podcast episodes
Heddels+ Discord community
No ads on the entire Heddels site
Up to 20% off at the Heddels Shop, STAG Provisions, Blue in Green, Clutch Cafe, and more!