How to create your own distressed denim

Scrolling through Instagram, you’ll find countless updates of celebs in distressed denim jeans, jackets and shirts. This season is all about making this trend your own — and what better way than by ripping, customising and patching yourself?

To lend a hand when you’re creating your authentic distressed denim, check out this guide from sequin dresses retailer, QUIZ, for handy fashion tips.

Get your denim ready

Once you have your scissors and the jeans you want to make-over, it’s so tempting to just start snipping away. However, if you don’t plan what you’re going to do, you run the risk of ruining your jeans.


First step is to try on your jeans and check yourself out in the mirror. This way, you can see exactly which parts of your jeans that you want to cut and distress. Pockets, knees and the bum are popular places to modify, as they are the areas that naturally wear and tear. Use chalk to mark out where you want to distress.

Tear it up

Now that you know where you need to cut, put a magazine or piece of cardboard inside the jeans, beneath the area you want to modify. This will make sure you only cut one side of the jeans and not both! Then, get a safety knife and start cutting, varying the lengths of your rips to create a natural-looking tear. Loosely aim to create a diamond shape using different-sized cuts.

As soon as you’re happy with the incisions, you need to think about how you want your jeans to fray. Along the edge of each cut, gently tease the horizontal white threads using a safety pin. Then, using tweezers, pluck out the vertical threads to leave just the white horizontal threads. Repeat this for each cut.

Distress your denim

You possibly haven’t used sandpaper since school, but it’s perfect for getting a genuine ‘distressed denim’ look. Take a piece of sandpaper and rub it across sections of your jeans. This will create a natural-looking colour fade, perfect for adding the finishing touches to your distressed denim creation.

Customise your design

Now, you can either stop here and start rocking your distressed jeans, or add even more of your personality to your design with patches. Bright floral motifs are in vogue and practically leap off distressed denim to give you an eye-catching contrast of grunge and chic. If you want a subtle embellishment, why not go with lace? This is a classic feminine fabric that will dress up your modern distressed denim with retro charm for the ideal smart-casual look.

If you don’t want to sew on your own embellishments, QUIZ has a wide collection of jeans with this type of detailing.