The skinny on denim jeans and fast fashion

Ridiculous may not be a strong enough word to describe the phenomenon, but it nevertheless is worthy of all our ridicule because for this ridiculous looking pair of jeans, like millions of other pairs of cheap jeans, the point is not just how much we are prepared to compromise in order to own them, such as the self respect of the people who made them (cheap jeans = cheap labour) and the environmental footprint they come laden with, but how stupid we are prepared to look like when we wear them.

Poorly made, poorly designed fast fashion pieces, produced in their millions, lack all individualism. In the case of denim, this lack of individualism speaks volumes.

Jeans, we live in them; they have become so ubiquitous we could call them humanity’s uniform.

They have crossed all cultural barriers and have represented our social and political attitudes, from utilitarian workwear in the early 1900s, to a symbol of the hippy peaceful protests in the 1960s, to punk. Everyone wears jeans: millionaires, refugees, celebrities and school kids.

A canvas that is the fabric of so many stories.

When I was growing up, it was Levi’s 501s or die. Nick Kamen stripped to wash them in a launderette, ripped jeans wearers were banned from Harrods and one would spend hours in a cold bath to mould them to fit perfectly. If you were an artist they would be splattered in paint, if you were a gardener they would gather earth in their turn-ups. They were never ironed, seldom washed. Quite a few people learned how to sew in the early 80s in a desperate move away from the 70s bell bottoms, to take them in at the seam and make them skinny.


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