Denim is a versatile garment. Their styles, colours and fits have been a key element in defining eras in recent history, as well as jeans and jackets.
Who defines these eras? The icons of pop culture have been the arbiters of denim since its inception. It has influenced how it is worn and what it means.
We can see the evolution of the denim industry and how it is perceived by the public.
Wayne, a star of Hollywood’s Golden Age was well-known for his Western and war films. He was almost always seen in blue jeans, regardless of the genre. Wayne wore denim in all his cowboy movies. This transformed denim’s perception from workwear to everyday wear for every day people.
Denim was considered a fashion statement as well as a practical material. Marlon Brando, who wore jeans in his bad-boy dramas like The Wild One, proved this to be especially true. Brando made jeans a symbol for rebellion and against the grain, turning them from workwear. Denim jeans were a symbol for self-expression.
The Wild One’s popularity was so strong that many American schools banned denim from their dress codes in 1953.
Madonna and Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen’s high-waisted jeans triggered a fashion revolution and redefined American patriotism. The cover of “Born in the USA” reflected everything that his denim predecessors represented: hard work, rebellion, and a hint towards fun and rock. It was the essence of 80’s denim.
Fast forward to 2000 and Madonna’s reinvention single ‘American Pie” was just as much a reinvention denim trends. The high waist and patchwork flares of its pants demonstrated the rapid cultural and fashion changes that took place between 1980s and 2000. It was the 21st Century’s mission statement: Empowerment and Expression.
Britney and Justin
Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake, a celeb couple, walked the red carpet one year after Madonna debuted her denim look. Spears’s formal gown is a fashion statement that has snatched denim out of the mainstream, while JT’s three piece ensemble with a denim fedora and a matching skirt is a classic.
This moment is crucial in realising that jeans can be worn in many different ways. Britney and Justin showed at least five different ways to wear denim.
Meghan, Duchess Of Sussex
Since its inception, denim has been a symbol for rule-breakers. This tradition continues with Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex. Since day one, she has been breaking the rules on royal fashion protocol.
Meghan wore simple, distressed jeans and a distressed hem for her first official appearance together with Prince Harry. Although the move was not revolutionary, it gave royal fans a glimpse of a modern, relaxed royal family. Meghan isn’t content with wearing skinny jeans. There were many notable deviations from royal protocol that show Meghan is comfortable in what she wears.
Fashion trends are constantly being reshaped by the way we wear jeans. These pioneers are responsible for creating the styles we love today. Denim will continue to be a major part of our wardrobes in the years to come, from jeans to jackets.