Earnest Sewn is introducing an innovative way to increase sales and gain ideas for new vintage denim washes at the same time.

The New York-based denim company has created a vintage exchange program, where customers can bring in their old Earnest Sewn jeans and exchange them for a new pair at 30% off. The distressed jeans will be handed over to the design team and from there it will draw ideas for its upcoming collection.

The idea was first put to the test in 2004 when Earnest Sewn gave the wait staff at Pastis, a restaurant in New York City, a pair of their raw rigid jeans to wear for six months to a year. Afterwards, the designers collected the jeans to analyze the distress and wear patterns, which led to the creation of the “Pastis” wash.

Similarly, after Earnest Sewn received earlier this year a picture of model Natasha V sporting a pair of Earnest Sewn jeans, the Harlan 18, from one of its first production runs, the company created the “Chloe” wash. That style is set to debut in the Fall 2009 collection.

—Alexandra Gonzalez