Blue jeans and faded denim remain popular fashions
Denim jeans have stayed fashionable
Faded blue jeans have been fashionable since when I was a teenager back in the 1960s and the appeal of this hard-wearing cotton fabric is still as strong. Jeans are popular with teenagers, are fashionable for men and women, and there are brand names that help make them more so.
Denim is a strong dark blue cotton cloth that fades with washing and wear. It is often given a hand though to get that special look. Raw denim is the term for denim that has just been made and not subjected to the repeated washing that get it to fade.
Denim is for casual wear and is good for outdoor work but can also be worn to show how trendy and fashion-conscious you are. Perhaps not so much nowadays but jeans and other denim clothes are still very salable.
The worldwide denim market is worth a considerable amount of money with most of it being produced in China and India but denim material and clothes are produced too in America and Europe as well as elsewhere.
Levi Strauss & Co jeans label
Blue jeans for men
Levi and Wrangler Jeans
Levi and Wrangler were the two main rival denim jeans companies when I was growing up. To wear a pair of Levi’s made by the American Levi Strauss & Co showed how “cool” you were. Levi’s, as I remember them were a bit more expensive that the rival jeans made by Wrangler.
Levi’s denim jeans were popular with young people in the mod, greaser/biker hippie and skinhead sub-cultures. They were a mark of rebellion shared by all.
Hippies used to add patches to theirs and would also make their jeans into flares by inserting triangles of other cloth into the bottoms. Faded denims were taken one step beyond with the fashion of deliberately bleaching them. Domestos and other bleach was used to make whitish marks on the cloth in random ways. You had to be careful not to use too much of the caustic fluid though or it would make holes in the denim. If you got it just right it would give it that ‘cosmic’ look.
Wrangler is another American company and has survived to this day. Both Levi’s and Wrangler’s were associated with America and with Westerns. They had a tough and macho image as well as a rebellious stance for the wearer.
The strength of denim has been shown not only in how hard-wearing it is but how the material has remained popular for so long. Jeans are the favourite items of many people and, as the hit song by Neil Diamond goes, a lot of people like to stay Forever in Blue Jeans!
Neil Diamond - Forever in Blue Jeans (Stereo!)
Buy Denim jackets on Amazon
Short denim jackets complemented the look teamed up with Levi’s or Wrangler jeans. These jackets had metal buttons and the jeans had copper rivets to strengthen the pockets. This added to their rugged and herd-wearing image. The more faded such a jacket was the cooler was its fashion status just like with the denim jeans. It showed the garment had been around and hadn’t just been bought.
Bard of Ely in denims
Denim caps and other uses for denim
In the 1970s there was a fashion for a few years for denim lapel-jackets, waistcoats, suits, coats and hats. Denim caps and denim cowboy hats were very popular and so were other items of ‘smart’ clothing now produced in a used denim range.
I remember a company in Cardiff called Gentlefolk that used to turn out this sort of clothing and had its own label and boutique. Old denims were cut up and recycled into making new garments and the contrast between the colour and textures of the cloth added to the appeal.
Denim shirts have always been a fashionable item of clothing as well. The denim used is thinner to make it more flexible and more comfortable to wear.
Denim skirts and dresses have proven popular with the women too. There have been denim overalls and denim jump-suits and basically if you can make it then it exists made out of denim.
Today you can get pink, purple, black and red, as well as many other colours of denim, though navy blue and faded is still the most popular. Back in the 1960s there were other colours being produced that you don't see now though. Ice blue jeans and also lovat and black and gold denims were fashionable. They probably would be again today if some manufacturer would make them.
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Holes in denim and ready-ripped denim
Denim is unusual in being a clothing fabric that retains its appeal when faded, well worn and with patches to cover holes and ripped denim is also very fashionable. Denims jeans with holes in the knees and elsewhere have been sported by many rock stars of the Hard Rock, Heavy Metal and Punk Rock genres. Again this goes back to the rebellious image the material gives.
You can buy high-fashion denims that have been already faded and ripped. Seems strange though that a damaged article of clothing is thought to look better than a brand new one!
How to Bleach Out Your Jeans
© 2013 Steve Andrews
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