Photography Paolo Roversi

Jean is a new book celebrating the power of denim

Curated and styled by i-D’s Editor-in-Chief Alastair McKimm from his archive, 'Jean' is a visual ode to the democratic garment.

by Jack Sunnucks
28 July 2021, 12:09pm

Photography Paolo Roversi

“I just wanted it to be really big” laughs Alastair McKimm, i-D’s Editor in Chief and Creative Director, of his new, very large book entitled Jean, published today by IDEA. Jean is a visual paean to denim in all its forms, and the many ways in which Alastair and his photographic collaborators have chosen to depict it. “In fashion it’s all about extremes… I either love really baggy or really skinny. Being able to work across this really wide spectrum I’ve always found fun, whether it’s glamorous or grungy, real or elevated. Or just very mundane! That’s what I love about denim, it transcends everything. Denim jeans are the most democratic garment.” 

The book itself is democratic in its design, with a host of photographers sat alongside each other, in what Alastair describes as “an almost exhibition quality zine”. Mario Sorrenti, David Sims and Amy Troost all feature heavily, alongside a host of boldface names who the stylist has worked with throughout the years. “I wanted that contrast. Working with Mert & Marcus, or Inez, or Willy Vanderperre — from hypercolour to monochrome. The book is really a celebration of photography, and denim was a way to edit the work and see that real spectrum of image-making.” 

This comes hot off the heels of Mica, which chronicled Alastair’s great friendship with the supermodel Mica Argañaraz. “They start as zines but they end up being books,” he laments, probably because Alastair is very busy. “I meet so many young artists and models, and then they stick around and I get to watch them grow up — go from being kids to being adults. It’s a magic moment we focus on, and it’s fleeting,” he says of the many models, Mica included, who pop up again and again in the book. Jean, however, is dedicated to someone a little older — Alastair’s grandmother, Jean. “It’s so nice to have these time capsules, and that’s what we talk about with the magazine — it’s important that it’s printed and becomes a capsule of the time.” 

“Denim’s on the runway. Virgil’s LV show? Loads of denim in there. It just grounds every outfit and makes it wearable despite being so extreme,” Alastair says. He doesn’t, however, wear denim — he’s a black combat or track pants only sort of person. “I hope people pull pages out and put it on their walls. The centerfold is a poster, and you should feel invited to do what you want.” Time to redecorate your room with Jean

Buy Jean here.

Mario Sorrenti
Inez & Vinoodh
Craig McDean
Daniel Jackson
Alastair McKimm