Ripped jeans on the run

Ripped jeans are everywhere. Stop, and look around in the CHS hallways during a class change. Count how many are wearing jeans that have some kind of rip, tear, shred, or some kind of deliberate imperfection–Jeans that look like they’ve been attacked by Logan/Wolverine as my dad would say.

There is no denying that this style has made another comeback in recent years. However, if we asked any relative born before 1970, they would likely be shocked to find we spend so much money on something they would have tossed in the garbage.

Why do we wear another generation’s trash?

The first pair of jeans were designed by Loeb Strauss in the late 1870’s, who then changed his name to Levi, and ultimately founded the denim brand, Levi’s.

Jeans had been a staple in fashion since the emergence of the original Levi. Both young men and women donned the fashion. The 1950s saw the rise of the cuffed bottoms with both looser and tight fits (as saw rebirth in the last ten years with the hipster movement). The 1960s featured many colored denims for young women among a more diverse range of styles.

However, the clean look of the ’50s and 60’s were reborn in the cultural punk rock movement in the Seventies.

Related image
The Ramones helped define the age of punk rock in the 1970s. Featured here in ripped jeans, their iconic look.

The rips of the punk movement were a symbol of rebellion–punks tore apart the consumer goods to express their anger towards society. Denim then became a part of their political statement.

The Sex Pistols, Iggy Pop and Bros and Madonna helped to make ripped jeans popular. Fans of these celebrities followed them by ripping their own jeans at home, and a trend emerged.

They also became popular again in the heavy metal and rock era in the 1990’s and the 2000’s.

The latest comeback of ripped jeans was in 2010. A New York based luxury denim brand featured a pair of greatly “distressed” jeans covered in a permanent, muddy-colored coating sold at Nordstrom with a price tag of $425. The idea was that the jeans were supposed to embody the idea of “rugged workwear for the hardworking American,” though this logic bleeds with irony considering the average blue collar American workman would likely be their last target market. This pairs well with the pair of Maison Margiela trainers that looked like they have been run over by a lawnmower for $1425 at Neimen Marcus.

The last decade has seem to be heavily influenced by a revival of 70s and 90s fashion culture, and with it, ripped jeans. The jeans are making the runway, and with it, extreme designs and price tags.

USED Yves Saint Laurent jeans sold online for $1,000.
Alexander McQueen
British designer, Alexander McQueen, jeans can sell up to $2,000.
Snake patch jeans sold for $1,400 by designer, Amiri.
LA designer, Carmar Denim, sells these “extreme cut” jeans for $178.

I asked around CHS–how do students feel about ripped jeans, particularly because they are a constant point of discussion as many borderline dress code violation should a rip go above the knee and show skin.

I wondered how they may respond to designers charging upwards of $2,000 on a pair, or $178 for a pair with almost nothing left, and other questions.

Freshmen, Shea Ross, said

“Yes I do wear them, and I think we should wear them. They should [all] be within the dress-code because people shouldn’t be distracted by our clothing. And no, I do not think $1400+ is a reasonable price for a pair of ripped jeans, because that’s a lot of money.”

Shea Ross

Junior, Parker Modica, said

“Yes I wear them all the time, because I love them, I love ripped jeans. They should be in dress-code because they’re stylish. And yes, I think $1400+ is a reasonable price for a pair of ripped jeans.”

Parker Modica

Sophomore, Kelsey Holt, said

Sophomore, Leo B., shows off his jeans.

“Yes I wear them, and I feel like they’re just clothes, it’s not that big of a deal. They shouldn’t be a dress-code violation because it’s a fashion statement. And no, I do not think $1400+ is a reasonable price for a pair of ripped jeans unless it’s a pair of Louis Vuitton jeans or something.”

Kelsey Holt

Teacher, Mrs. McNellie, said

“I think it’s a style that is cycling back. In 1995, they had the same jeans, and it will probably go away in about five years, so it’s a temporary thing. I think it’s the style now. I don’t love them. I don’t own any. I don’t think $1000 is a reasonable price for anything. I buy the $19 ones at Old Navy. That’s crazy. They should use that money to benefit society…not on jeans.

Mrs, McNellie

She also commented that she doesn’t mind some of the ripped jeans styles she has seen on campus, but does not like seeing ripped jeans with gaping holes where underwear can be seen. We can assume that the “extreme cut” jeans (pictured above) would not go over well.

Personally, I like ripped jeans. I have a few pairs, I rip my own, and make them how I want because my dad won’t let me get them pre-ripped from a store. As he would ask, “Did you get those half off? You’re missing some of them.” Classic dad joke.

I surely wouldn’t pay for a $1000 pair of jeans; that’s just ridiculous no matter what designer brand it is. Sometimes the jeans that cost way less are better than the “high quality” ones that cost a premium.

In this writer’s personal opinion, I believe the dress code for ripped jeans needs to be reassessed. Currently, no rips above the knee showing skin are permissible, yet students can wear shorts at least slightly above the knee. The same rule in knee height should logically apply.

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