Kylie Haywood, the creator behind Pete Jeans, with one of her latest designs. She has been thrifting and painting jeans and selling them through her Instagram account, @kphjeans. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Surrey fashion-marketing student’s painted jeans project yields ‘insane’ response

Kylie Haywood, 18, started painting and posting jeans during the COVID-19 pandemic

During the first wave of the pandemic, Kylie Haywood was trying to find things to do to distract herself when she took a pair of jeans and started painting them.

Haywood, now a fashion marketing student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, has since started posting her designs on her Pete Jeans Instagram account.

“Honestly, it became a hobby for me during the main quarantine. I was just finding things to distract myself because it was so many hours of just doing nothing,” she said. “I got so much positive feedback. It was insane.”

The 18-year-old Surrey resident said some people messaged her through social media to find out if they were for sale.

She started her Instagram account, @kphjeans, in December.

While the account, and her business, is still “so new,” Haywood said that by early February, she had sold four pairs of jeans that she bought, painted and thrifted and another pair that someone brought her to paint.

When buying the jeans herself, Haywood said she spends about $20 a pair. She already has the painting supplies, so she sells them for anywhere between $50 and $75.

“I’ve been able to sell them with quite a little bit of a markup for myself because it takes so much time.”

A lot of her inspiration for the designs comes from scrolling through social media, she said.

“I think everyone is so involved with social media at the moment that there’s so many trends and so many inspiration photos out there that it’s so easy to find something to make you creative and something to make you inspired,” Haywood said. “And then I take my own creative spin on it.”

Her favourite is her first design, which included a butterfly theme.

“I think I have an emotional connection to them because it kind of started everything that I’m doing,” said Haywood, adding she loves the symbolism of butterflies, which includes freedom and growth.

But Pete Jeans isn’t the only thing keeping Haywood busy. She’s taking five courses in her first year of university at KPU.

“I am insanely busy … but it’s been such an escape for me because it’s just something you can take time on and paint and just watch a show or listen to music as you’re doing it. It’s just such a calming thing for me.”

Asked how she became interested in fashion and marketing, Haywood said she grew up in a family that was involved in sewing, textiles and fashion. When her grandfather, who passed away about a decade ago, immigrated to Canada, he became a tailor.

“He spent his whole life being a tailor, so he was so used to fabrics, so used to threads and so used to sewing and all of that. Ever since I was little, I’ve always been surrounded by sewing,” she said.

“I grew up just knowing I had a passion for fashion and exploring. I would dress in rainbows when I was little. I just really liked expressing myself through clothing.”

As she got older, Haywood said she realized she had a passion for business, marketing and fashion.

“I’m exploring it every single day.”

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