Throughout western cultural history, across the turbulence of the ever-changing ‘ins and outs’ of contextual fashion trends, only one constant has remained - blue jeans.
Pop culture icon James Dean was undoubtedly at the forefront of the ‘bad boy’ resurgence of blue jeans throughout the 1950s. During Dean’s short life, he became the cultural representative of teenage disillusionment and social estrangement.
By the time the 1960s were in full swing, ‘50s teenage rebellion had manifested into a fully established counterculture in the hippie movement. Here, blue jeans represented many of the core political and sociological values of the movement.
The 1980s saw denim finally secure its spot in the mainstream with the birth of designer jeans. Calvin Klein’s iconic ad campaign brought denim to the forefront of fashion, with jeans even beginning to appear on the catwalks of New York City.
The evolution of men’s designer jeans throughout this decade is perhaps best encapsulated by the cover of Bruce Springsteen’s 1984 album ‘Born In The USA’, where he sports a traditional blue-collar working outfit, living on as an iconic moment in pop culture.
Baggier jeans had a moment in the mid-2000s, but skinnier styles have maintained their popularity up to the present day. Cuts tend to favour a slim fit around the hips and thighs, with distressed denim emerging as a major trend of this decade.
While a vintage interest in bootcut and high-waisted jeans encouraged their rise in popularity for the fashion-conscious woman, jeans continue to serve as a versatile fashion choice that works effortlessly in almost any setting.
Blog post by Luke Conod. Luke is Managing Director of Buy Jeans and its parent company Denim Nation. Images by Unsplash.