Bad Denim is a little piece of denim heaven tucked away in Clapton, east London. But it’s well worth making the pilgrimage to explore a really smart collection of denim brands curated by denim consultant and enthusiast Erin Fridja. She really knows her stuff and it shows, not just in the brands she buys for the shop – from Kapital to Current/Elliott – but in the expert and honest advice she gives her customers. She has worked with Victoria Beckham, M.i.h, Paul Smith and Alexa Chung and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of denim. She knows exactly what to suggest as the perfect fit, whatever your shape or style. Not surprisingly she has built up a loyal clientele since opening in 2014 who keep going back not just for the new collections but also for the vintage rail at the back of the shop (next to the pink flamingo wallpapered fitting room). On our visit there were great pieces from Levi’s, Calvin Klein, and Wrangler – and at not-crazy prices too.

Erin Fridja in Bad Denim

But Fridja is passionate about promoting independent denim brands (she can give you the back stories on all of them) and here she runs through some of her key buys for spring:

For SS17 their heavy-weight non-stretch Japanese denim has been washed down to a gorgeous bright blue – I’m very excited for the wide leg Pleat Jean with a tie-belt, worn high and with volume, Diane Keaton 70’s style.

Image by Synchrodogs

This US brand inspired me to go to the hairdresser for a French-girl-fringe. I’d describe their aesthetic as Jeanne Damas crossed with a cowgirl. High-waisted exposed silver buttons, wide A-line shapes and raw denim with tobacco triple-topstitching. Best paired with a low-buttoned top and full weekend plans.

The proportion and detailing are so, so right on a Rachel Comey look. I particularly enjoy their trophy one-piece every season. For SS17 I was taken with the heavy weight yet super soft ecru denim – it feels like it has been tumbled with stones for days. Crafted into cinched pants and paired with a little shrunken tee, it’s easy modern New York dressing.

There is a particular shade of denim that I call M.i.h blue. It’s the shade of bright blue that makes you smile because it feels so fresh and you want to put it on immediately. This season it’s best used on their one-piece 70’s jumpsuit, Uta, with a silver button front and little kick at the leg. I can count on M.i.h. to nail the leg lengths, perfectly swinging just above the ankle bone.

For SS17 KOI featured a gorgeous hand-woven indigo fabric, used to perfection on slouchy separates and finished with a raw edge. Japanese inspired like most of their pieces, the look is voluminous and free. This eco-conscious brand leads the industry in my opinion for actual heart behind their sustainable message.

Discover the world of Bad Denim at 82 Lower Clapton Road, London E5 0RN or at

Text by Tamsin Blanchard