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Sustainable Denim Bonds DL1961 and Kseniaschnaider

New York-based DL1961 is sharing the spotlight with Kyiv-based Kseniaschnaider.

DL1961 released Tuesday an eight-piece capsule collection with the Ukrainian brand founded in 2011 by Ksenia Schnaider and her husband, Anton. 

The partnership began in May 2022 when DL1961 commissioned Schnaider to create a custom look for the “Indigo” exhibition at Frieze’s gallery space at No.9 Cork Street in London. 

The immersive, interactive exhibit explored the innovative fibers and sustainable technologies that are set to disrupt the denim industry. It was broken down into five zones meant to be an abstract simulation of the denim manufacturing process from factory floor to advertising campaign. 

Zone 4 featured several mannequins wearing commissioned custom garments designed by various artists including Schnaider, who created a bespoke look for DL1961.

Though Kseniaschnaider’s designs often fall outside the box while DL1961’s resonate with the contemporary market, the brands align on their goals for sustainable and circular design. Kseniaschnaider’s collections are based on upcycled, reworked and sustainable fabrics. DL1961 manufactures at its family-owned, vertically integrated facilities, ADM Denim, and uses certified cotton, clean dyes, solar power and waterless technologies. 

Every piece in the DL1961 x Kseniaschnaider collection is crafted with recycled fibers that have been transformed from textile waste through ADM’s partnership with the recycled cotton fiber manufacturer, Recover.

“The collaboration not only reflects the strongest and brightest parts of the two brands, but it also reflects support, love, and passion for work. It’s about enhancing the power of denim and both brands’ conscious efforts towards sustainability,” Schnaider said. 

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Kseniaschnaider’s signature “denim fur” is featured prominent in the collaboration. The high-pile fringe that mimics the look of hair was introduced in the brand’s Fall 2018 collection. The fur effect is achieved by cutting up small rectangular pieces of denim, attaching them to the garment, and proceeding with a wash cycle which results in the voluminous fringe.

The tactile technique is applied to a miniskirt, a cropped tank and two wide-leg jeans—a hem trim on one and all over the other. Multi-colored patchwork constructions—a jacket, shorts and two wide-leg jean styles—round out the capsule. It retails for $249-$429 and is available on DL1961’s website and at select retailers. 

Schnaider describes the collection as her “personal ode to peace.” She was working on the collection when she had to leave Ukraine due to Russia’s invasion. “It was a difficult time, and the work gave me hope and relief,” she said. “I wanted to convey all my passion and love for life in the denim.” 

Kseniaschnaider linked with German online retailer Zalando last October to launch  a limited-edition capsule collection.