Sunday 7 April 2013

Acid Reign - How to DIY a basic pair of acid washed jeans

Drench and distress your denim for an on-trend spring/ summer staple.

Party on, the '90s are back - in fashion, anyway! If you’ll take some time to let it sink in, some 20 years have passed since the fearful decade of post cold-war tensions, millennium bug fear and even novelty scrunchies. It really does feel like yesterday, or rather today with this nostalgic levity of 90s retro upon us. 2013 fashion has, so far, been dominated by brilliant neons, sombre grunge-inspired palettes and, yes, once again there’s no getting away from customised denim this season. So, why awaken the ghost now? Maybe it’s because 90s teens are now consumers, with the requisite disposable incomes to really “live the dream” or view their youth through rose-tinted glasses ( à la Gallagher, perchance? We’ve still got the Britpop aesthetic to work with). Maybe it’s because the current teen generation are too young to remember how insufferably cheesy it all was the first time around. Maybe, just maybe, it’s because fashion moves in cycles with a chronological algorithm of what is romantic, retro or plain passé. According to Alison Lurie’s book, The Language of Clothes, fashion a year after its time is “dowdy,” 10 years after is “hideous” and 20 years after is “ridiculous,” (that said, it was written in 1981, making it, like, so stuck in the 80s and “amusing” by its own standards!)

Yves Saint-Laurent’s recent grunge-inspired show had Courtney Love ecstatically tweeting her “’gasms” at the idea of rich ladies buying what she used to wear in years gone by “finally (with) no beanies.” As a 90s teen, myself, I’d say that reference was just the tip of the iceberg from a generation of assorted tastes and “scenes” with fashion and music joined at the hip. Into your acid and trance? Neons at the ready. Disaffected and rock ‘n’ roll? Distressed Americana-flavoured grunge. Fans of girlband and boyband pop? It’s all about the denim. As the saying goes, "plus ça change..." It's no wonder we’re getting designer déjà vu in a 90s-style climate of sky-high youth unemployment, corporate greed, worldwide religious and political unrest and many a damning question of exactly what goes into your supermarket beef burgers!

So, on that happy note, who wants some acid?

You will need

Jeans (shout out to my gal the Frenetic Fox for her much appreciated donation)

Dylon fabric dye (about £3) I'd recommend a colour within the region of purple, red or burgundy but, needless to say, it's up to you

Thick bleach


Rubber gloves (trust me, your hands will thank you for using them!)

Plastic wash basin

A good area for making a mess. I used my shower


Very easy and totally rad!

The only remotely difficult thing about this one's not making a mess, so while I'd like to stress the need for appropriate precautions to be taken (Clue: Wear clothes you don't mind ruining and keep well clear of soft furnishings) it's a DIY fashion breeze. Cowabunga!


Total time including drying and soaking: 5 - 10 hours

Actual time you need to spend working on it: Half an hour to an hour

Do you see where I'm going with this? This is practically a DIY that does itself. You just have to chip in and guide it at certain intervals with the instructions I'm about to give you. It's a great project to do in conjunction with other things, or to plan other activities around, while you wait.

Bring on the acid...

Squirt some bleach in wavy lines all over your jeans and spread it using your sponge.

Leave to dry.

Following the instructions provided carefully and to the letter, as I'm sure you will, mix your dye in your wash basin and leave your jeans to soak.

45 minutes later, hang your jeans up to dry and, if you fancy, give them one last swirling squirt with bleach for luck, like I did.

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