Re/Done Denim founder Sean Barron wants you to throw away your jeggings

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If you're curious how It Girls like Emily Ratajkowski, Kendall Jenner, and Alessandra Ambrosio always seem to be rocking a chic pair of Levi's 501s that somehow fit them perfectly, it's because they didn't score them at their local flea market—they wear Re/Done jeans.

Founded by Sean Barron and Jamie Mazur just two years ago, the Los Angeles-based denim label has made a name for itself by turning old Levi's into designer-level jeans by taking them apart and tailoring them into more modern shapes. Re/Done started as an e-commerce brand, and also offers special Hanes T-shirts, jean jackets, and the brand's newest endeavor: stretch denim (more on that below). You can shop it at Barneys New York and other retailers all over the country. We visited the Re/Done headquarters in L.A. to chat with Sean about how the company came to be—and, you know, feast our eyes on thousands of pairs of jeans.

PHOTO: PHOTO BY KATE FRIEDMAN

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Glamour: What gave you the idea to start this company?

Sean Barron: My partner and I started this as a project. We were just sitting around talking about how women love to wear vintage Levi's jeans, but they're hard to get. You either have to get them from a vintage store or a flea market, and then you have to find a tailor that can actually change them because they're men's jeans. Taking apart jeans and remaking them is super challenging, and when my partner asked me if I thought I could do it I said 'no—but let's try.' So for 9 months I took apart jeans and put them back together and couldn't make them fit, and it wasn't until I was just about ready to give up that it finally worked. We then made 150 pairs and started an Instagram of girls wearing vintage Levi's. We did a shoot with Bella Hadid, back when she only had 100,000 followers on Instagram, and we started teeing up some of the images of what was to come and our following grew. When we launched, we opened at midnight and sold out before the next morning, and we woke up to 2,000 people on the waiting list. The same thing happened three weeks later.

Glamour: Wow! Where do you source all of your jeans?

SB: From very interesting people. We'll buy 5,000-10,000 at a time from collectors who have been doing this for years. There are five or six guys who do this all over the country, and some from Europe.

Glamour: So how does sizing work?

PHOTO: PHOTO BY KATE FRIEDMAN

SB: Each size 26 jean is exactly the same size, however, let's say the guy who first owned the jeans was a truck driver, then maybe the fabric is a little weaker in the butt. And if he worked outside it was probably weaker in the knees. It will also vary depending on what year the jeans were made. So each jean is slightly different because it has a different history. But we make the measurements exactly the same.

Glamour: What is your advice for girls buying their jeans online?

SB: Try and try and try some more.

Glamour: Ha! Noted. What made you decide to add stretch denim to your repertoire?

SB: We decided to do stretch jeans because some girls say they need a little stretch. Honestly, I think it's only mental, because I don't think they really need the stretch. But since we launched that, we have a brand that's part heritage and part problem solving, and we don't look at it like vintage at all.

PHOTO: PHOTO BY KATE FRIEDMAN

Glamour: What's the hottest denim trend right now?

SB: This season, the cropped flare jeans are very strong, and we actually did two collaborations with Leandra Medine and Elsa Hosk for different variations. For spring we have some cool styles coming, where we're piecing the jeans together with lots of seams. Not to be confused with patchwork—we actually did that years ago and oddly enough it didn't stick. I think we were early.

Glamour: How do you decide what styles to introduce?

SB: A lot of denim companies deal with what the shoes of the season are going to look like, and proportions to what people are wearing on top. If girls are wearing big sweatshirts they'll want a skinnier jean, and if they're wearing tight tops they'll want a wider jean. You have to play in the playground of what's happening culturally.

PHOTO: PHOTO BY KATE FRIEDMAN

Glamour: Which denim trend will always be fashionable?

SB: Every iteration of the high-rise always works. We actually have an ultra-high coming soon, they go all the way to your neck. Kidding, but they're more of a fashion statement. But at the end of the day girls want jeans that will make them feel confident and sexy, and high-waisted jeans tend to do that.

Glamour: Next time we clean out our closets, what jean style should we get rid of?

SB: Jeggings. Every closet needs one comfortable stretchy pair of jeans, but I think the reason we have permission to do what we do is because that's already happened. Jeggings all look the same, but when you buy jeans from us, we make sure every pair has individuality.

Don't get us wrong, we love a good thrift store buy, but if you're looking for that perfect fit, Re/Done has mastered the art.

Photography by Kate Friedman at Re/Done's warehouse in Downtown Los Angeles.

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