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Why is it fashionable to make new jeans look old and ragged?

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There days it is common for new jeans to be sold with the denim deliberately faded in the certain areas and holes ripped all over to make the garmets look worn. Why is this? Is it harmless, or does the desire to make a new garmet look as though it's been destroyed reflect some nihilistic cultural element?

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There days it is common for new jeans to be sold with the denim deliberately faded in the certain areas and holes ripped all over to make the garmets look worn. Why is this? Is it harmless, or does the desire to make a new garmet look as though it's been destroyed reflect some nihilistic cultural element?

It is a form of slumming.

ruveyn1

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There days it is common for new jeans to be sold with the denim deliberately faded in the certain areas and holes ripped all over to make the garmets look worn. Why is this? Is it harmless, or does the desire to make a new garmet look as though it's been destroyed reflect some nihilistic cultural element?

I think it's an expression of a basic underlying hatred of the rich which has become embedded in the culture.

Edited by moralist

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I think it's an expression of a basic underlying hatred of the rich which has become embedded in the culture.

Considering the price tag on those jeans compared to the ones made of whole cloth, it is more of an expression that "I have the affluence to afford this style."

Edited by dream_weaver

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This is just a guess too, but I'd like to put this up just to point out that it isn't necessarily evil at work here and lets not jump the gun. The ripped and faded jeans give an impression that one has been out and about doing a lot of things and very active as opposed to spending all day on the couch where their pants would suffer little wear and tear. It's an image that looks like one is probably living an interesting life and isn't very fussy. I don't necessarily think the aim would have to be to convince other people of things about you so much as that people often enjoy imitating what they like and admire. Also, for holes, that's more skin exposure and I hear exposed skin is generally seen as sexier.

What would be much more useful would probably be if you could ask people who actually work for large companies that make these kinds of jeans. Admittedly, that would be a bit challenging to do though.

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I think it's an expression of a basic underlying hatred of the rich which has become embedded in the culture.

More like an expression of a do-it-yourself attitude where no one needs to shell out a lot of money to get a personalized look. As far as I can tell, it originates from the punk subculture (see my avatar of the cover of an album by The Ramones), which is largely about DIY. Really, it's a sign of independence. Of course, people who spend a hundred dollars on ripped jeans basically miss the whole point.

Edited by Eiuol

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I think it just comes down to wanting to show skin in weird places and still look natural. Like if a girl wants to wear pants and still show some of herself off then she could have torn jeans instead of making a crazy new kind of pants.

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Torn and faded jeans were big 40 years ago, they're not anymore. Now, they're just used like any other fashion statement from the past: sparingly. They're not that common.

Originally, they were a fashion statement that was the symbol of self imposed poverty, as a way of sympathizing with the actual poor. This particular style was adopted by hippies, but the idea of middle aged white people acting as if they're poor originated with the hipster subculture. Not the hat, scarf, tie with a t-shirt, skinny jeans hipsters, the other ones. They were middle class white people who would dress down, do light drugs and talk slang to fit in with poor black people in jazz clubs in the 40s.

And, either way, none of this is philosophy. Hipsters and hippies were a social movement that reflected the culture as a whole. Dressing like them, at this point, is not even that. And, finally, I'm sure there are plenty of Objectivists who have faded or torn jeans in their closets. It should be pretty obvious that you can't deduce someone's philosophy from their clothes. So you shouldn't try to.

Edited by Nicky

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I think it's an expression of a basic underlying hatred of the rich which has become embedded in the culture.

Jesus, how cynical. If I recall correctly, Galt wore old jeans and white tees everyday in the Gulch.. not suits and ties. Do you think that had anything to do with 'hating the rich'?

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Originally, they were a fashion statement that was the symbol of self imposed poverty, as a way of sympathizing with the actual poor. This particular style was adopted by hippies [...]

Hmm, do you have a source, or at least some observations? In my observation, torn jeans more relate to the punk subculture which is really far from the hippy subculture. I'm thinking the sort of bands that played at CBGBs. My evidence is just some general knowledge I have of punk history. Look at this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punk_rock#New_York_City

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It might be a form of being ostentatious, perhaps. We know you paid a lot for those and don't know why you pay that much for such jeans. Because they can.

Its difficult to get jeans to look the way many of those bought ripped one's look like, at least to me. it might be costly for Jean companies to add such holes, the labor and time involved perhaps.

Edited by intellectualammo

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Torn and faded jeans were big 40 years ago, they're not anymore. Now, they're just used like any other fashion statement from the past: sparingly. They're not that common.

I remember those days well.

Hmm, do you have a source, or at least some observations? In my observation, torn jeans more relate to the punk subculture which is really far from the hippy subculture. I'm thinking the sort of bands that played at CBGBs. My evidence is just some general knowledge I have of punk history.

I can't speak for Nicky, but I was there; some of us took pride in our working-class identities. Disco was all the rage, and some of us despised such trends. Actually, I was a bit different from my piers, I sewed my own patches on my worn out jeans.

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I totally get the faded, slightly ripped or at least threadbare in areas look. I were jeans all the time and have my favorites that get to that condition, I actually don't like brand new really dark denim.

The thing I totally don't get is the coloring of the new 'faded' denims , what is with that yellowish cast?! If my favorite pair of 'honestly' worn jeans looked like they were at some point stained with urine or vomit , they are done, gone, no question. Why the hell do people purchase new items that look like that, I'd rather wear purple , its a color for godsake, not a hue of a undesirable bodily function.  

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Fashion follows fairly predictably in this order:

"Fashion Houses" (Prada, Louis Vuitton, Gucci) decide on a trend to put out there for every season of every year. They literally say, "This Spring we will do neon floral prints." "This fall I want to do futurist outerwear, in shades of white." Upscale retailers (Barneys, Saks) decide which of these trends to buy and stock for their very affluent customers are going to buy. These fashions/trends wind up on the streets of the world's biggest cities, in the hands of celebrity stylists, and in the tabloid photographs, on celebrities. Mass-market retailers, in addition to their tried-and-true (ancient trend) staples, copy versions of these "House" trends to integrate into their brand's look. After a few years, Target and Walmart decide the trend is worth producing on a mega scale. Seven to ten years later, after momentum of habit and human boredom play out, new trends (originating several years before on fashion runways) become the recognized norms for a particular generation.

Of course, many other influences and factors come into play. Sometimes the "Houses" are copying trends themselves. Today, aspects of the timeline are played out faster because of quick-to-respond and produce retailers like H&M and Zara. And of course, everyone, including original designers of trends, are influenced by culture as a whole. So, I would agree that fashion reflects cultural trends. In fact, you will hear designers say this with regularity, in these very words. And if you wanted, you could glance through fashion runway shows, still catalogued online for at least 15 years back, and compare the overall feel of the clothes to how (for example) optimistic or pessimistic you think cultural attitudes were for the same time period.

Jeans are one of those trends that just won't die -- designers love jeans for some reason. You can do a lot of finishes with the material, so maybe it is slightly unique that way, coupled with its iconic status at this point. I'm not sure how far back you could trace it, but the tattered look surely must have had longer life pumped into it with the "grunge" trends from the 90s.

Edited by JASKN

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