Interview with R Denim

by Julia Duthie

As climate change becomes increasingly prevalent, consumers are looking towards supporting more sustainable brands. Luckily we have a few local businesses in Vancouver that care about our environment and reducing our impact. One of those being R Denim, I was very excited to interview Rachel and talk about her business!! R denim specializes in pre-loved vintage denim to support the slow fashion movement with the adorable jeans already existing in this world!! They even do a Dream Jean Hunt to track down that one style of jeans you've always searched for. Creating an overall denim-filled experience to create the perfect Canadian tuxedo.

“R Denim consciously makes an impact to be mindful and kind to the planet. With every item you purchase with R Denim, you are joining the slow fashion movement - a sustainable solution towards helping out our planet while having a conscious pair of jeans” - R Denim.

Julia: ok, hi!! How are you doing today?

Rachel: Hi Julia! I’m doing good, the sunshine is out, and we’re already halfway through this week! How are you?

J: I'm doing good!! right it's so nice and sunny, I hope it stays for the weekend

J: Would you like to describe yourself and R denim briefly?

R: My name is Rachel, and I’m a designer based in Vancouver, BC. I love the ocean, catching sunsets, sewing, and discovering new music on Spotify! Ever since I can remember, jeans have always been a staple in my wardrobe, especially vintage Levi’s that are hard to find. As I was in between jobs in 2019, I had a lot more free time and the idea for R Denim came to mind. I wanted to create a brand that focuses on all things denim related. R Denim is a go to brand where people can come and find a pair of one of a kind jeans for themselves that are handpicked in Vancouver and part of the slow fashion movement. I decided to specifically focus on sourcing preloved denim because there are so many timeless styles of jeans that can be given a second life! As I delved into the history of denim, I couldn’t believe it’s impact on the planet. So, R Denim was born out of my love for denim but also to create a platform where people could easily find their dream pair while helping out the planet.

J: wow that's fantastic!! jeans are such an important part of people's wardrobes so this is a very good idea!! you're able to share what you love and have other people enjoy it too!! And being a designer, when did you get interested in fashion?

R: I’ve always loved fashion! I love how fashion is a form of expression and how different pieces can be styles so different on everyone. I grew up with my mom going to the thrift store and back then, I would sometimes go with her. When I went with her, I would go straight to the clothing section. I loved looking for items that no one else had or vintage designer items. With some items, I would bring them home and find a way to alter them to make them exactly what I wanted. In high school, I would find vintage jeans that I could make into shorts because I hated how short all the ones in the stores were. I got lots of compliments from them and even made a pair of shorts for my best friend which she bought from me over 10 years ago!

Courtesy of R Denim

J: Yes, fashion is so amazing!! And with your sewing ability you can add your own personal style. It makes sense you started R Denim!! It’s like you were always meant to do this! Do you have a favourite style of jeans??

R: Do I ever! I have two favourite jeans that are my go-to. The first is a pair of orange tag vintage Levi 505’s. They’re high-waisted with a straight leg and make everything I wear with them look good! I have another pair of white vintage wranglers that are my jeans for summer because they’re high-waisted and fit so well!

J: omg, i haven't seen 505's in that colour!!! That's so sick! I love anything high-waisted and straight-legged!! yes, fit is so important when it comes to jeans. And I see you just released a drop on May 4th, adding shorts to the mix! What are you hoping to add next??

R: Fit really is important! It’s been hard to figure out sizing because vintage jeans have different sizing, but I’m working on that!

R: I’m in the process of making a collection of denim totes that are completely zero-waste! With that last collection of shorts, I have a lot of denim that would be perfect to sew into totes just in time for summer! I’m also always keeping an eye out for unique belts and boots because they can easily elevate any outfit and pair perfectly with a pair of jeans!

J: Right, I saw the little sizing chart on your website!! I had no idea!! I’m going to keep that in mind when thrifting :) Do you have any goals for the end of this year??

R: Oh this is a great question! I would love to do more collaborations with other local brands before the end of the year. I also want to think of different ways to spread more awareness about the impact the denim industry has on our planet and get more people involved! And lastly, having an in person pop-up would be a dream, hopefully when COVID gets better by the end of this year!!

J: Yes, more collars would be so fun!! I think it's nice to create a community in Vancouver :) Yes, the denim industry is so harmful to the environment, so it would be very cool to spread awareness on it!! Speaking of local brands, do you have any favourites?

R: It’s hard to pick a favourite, but I love everything from @shopcollectivewill, @gathertheshop, @jessicaredditdesigns, @neighbourhoodqualitygoods, @picnicsandpoetry, @zaleska, @merge.tofino, @harlyjae, @naurathrift just to name a few!

J: And lastly, is there anything you wished people or companies cared more about in the fashion industry?

R: There’s been a huge shift towards shopping local, slow and investing in quality pieces that last years rather than having it for one trend. This shift in shopping makes me so happy to see. I think if there was one thing I wished for that more people knew about the large environmental impact that the textile industry has on the planet. Many people are surprised to hear about the environmental price tag that is attached to producing a pair of jeans. On average, it takes roughly 10,000L to make a pair of jeans from start to finish. Which is crazy! And that’s not even the worst part! ThredUp shared that buying one used item reduces its carbon, waste, and water footprints by 82%, so if we could become even just a little more conscious of the environmental impact of the textile industry that would be a huge step for the future of our planet!

J: Wow, that's so wonderful!! Yes, shopping local is so amazing, especially when it helps reduce the environmental impact of the fashion industry!! Thank you so much for this interview. It was so much fun.

R: Thank you so much for thinking of R Denim!

It was so lovely to speak with Rachel about R Denim and their goals for their brand and the slow fashion movement. See their products in person at Gather located in Mount Pleasant (the BEST thrifting area imo), and check out her most recent drops on her social media pages listed below!! Especially their Instagram because it is SO CUTE, literally feed goals wtf…..

Instagram: @shoprdenim

Pinterest: @shoprdenim


Gather’s Instagram: @gatherthesho