There are many reasons why we're obsessed with the cropped kick flare—it serves as a refreshingly modern alternative to '70-style flares (which dominated the denim market all of last year—to the grief of non-bohemians), its abbreviated hem gives you the option to wear heels or flats, and it easily lends a certain cool-girl effortlessness to any outfit. But one brand has taken the beloved silhouette to a whole new level—Mother with its introduction of the insider crop step fray jeans.
Unlike others that are sliced evenly across, these jeans end with a distressed edge that's abruptly cut from the side to create a truncated hem from the front and a longer length from the back. As subtle as it is, the style has sparked intrigue among both the fashion and the celebrity sets, and it's also why this particular style was awarded the Strongest Hem Game in our 2016 Denim Awards (flip to page 157 of the April issue to see all the winners).
"Frays have been our thing, ever since our first collection in 2010. A year ago or so, I saw a woman and it looked like she did her own fray where she just ripped it around, but whenever you rip jeans or shorts, it never ends in the same spot where you started—it's off by an inch or so," says Tim Kaeding, designer and co-founder of Mother, on the source of inspiration. "I wanted to try it, and that’s how this came about, and wow, it seems like everyone likes it."
Everyone more than likes it. Everyone's obsessed with it. The insider step crop fray is so in demand, it's currently sold out in all sizes on motherdenim.com and there's a waitlist of more than 150 people on just one pair. Did he know that it was going to be such a hit?
"Not at all—we love to do cute novelty things, but every once in a while, one just resonates with everybody," Kaeding says. "(The detail) is subtle, it's easy to wear, and I think people can really relate to the fact that it's not perfect, that it's not too precious. Everyone's tried to do it themselves and the result is always wonky, and this speaks to that."
Oddly enough, bringing it to fruition and perfecting it took a lot longer compared with other silhouettes. Kaeding says they had to go through four or five rounds of iterations, experimenting with different lengths (too small of an in-step wasn't noticeable and too large looked goofy) and angles. "I just wanted to make sure it looked right from all angles," he explains. "And it photographs well—we've gotten paparazzi shots out of it, and you can tell that it's our jean."
He's talking about Emma Roberts, for one, who has been a fan for a few months now. She first wore them at the beginning of the year, styling the cropped high-waist jean with a plunging top, a leopard-print coat, and darling Mary Janes. More recently, she gave them a spring-ready spin with a tucked-in polka-dot top and bright red loafers (aka the very definition of #outfitgoals).
Naomi Watts, too, took hers out for a spin, braving the unseasonably cold N.Y.C. spring weather in a black blouse, gray cocoon coat, and midi boots, which revealed just a sliver of shin. And Dakota Fanning styled an inky pair with pretty pastel layers, a bubblegum pink Chanel purse, and Stan Smiths.
Styling ideas, done. But getting ahold of a pair? That presents another challenge. While it's sold out now, we're assured that current washes will be restocked along with new washes and colorways, like white, all black, distressed gray, and a vintage-y blue, in April and May. There will also be the high-waist skinny version of the jean. You can join the waistlist at motherdenim.com for in-stock notifications, but if you absolutely can't wait (hey, we don't blame you), there's the option to buy from other e-retailers, like freepeople.com for $208 and mytheresa.com for $327.