As a denim aficionado, I like my fabrics rough and rugged – but pared-down as opposed to pre-worn or distressed. The best thing about denim is that it gets better with age. Having introduced a new range of unwashed denim separates to her core women’s fashion collection, it’s obvious that Samantha McCoach, Scottish-born founder of Le Kilt – the label that gives a contemporary twist to the traditional skirt, playing up its utilitarian aspects – feels the same. “All the best garments have a story – each crease and whisker become part of what makes a pair of jeans unique and personal. It’s the people that wear them that add the narrative,” says McCoach. In keeping with the designer’s vision, the line is small, timeless, sustainable and made in the UK.
Today’s denim offerings are often pre-shrunk, worn-and-torn, beaten, bleached and over-dyed, which can come at great cost to the environment. To avoid this, Le Kilt Denim uses raw, untreated fabric. Garments are made in east London, in partnership with Blackhorse Lane Ateliers, a manufacturer of selvedge and organic jeans working with top denim mills. The sharp denim range is the perfect accompaniment to the label’s simple wool kilts and cashmere knitwear. “I’ve always been interested in uniform dressing,” McCoach continues, “and wanted to go back to the original identity of the brand, to give the denim our personality.”
The classic straight-leg jean (£295) comes in 12oz unwashed denim with wool pocket details and silver hardware. The western-style jacket (£390), belted dress (£420) and pencil skirt (£215), all in 12oz denim, feature pockets made from kilt fabric: “There’s so much wastage in the fashion industry,” says McCoach. “We work with expensive fabrics and they shouldn’t be discarded.” And, of course, the care instruction, “machine washable (but only when necessary)”, greatly appeals to a true denim-lover like myself.