With the unpredictable nature of life in general, there are a few things that we can count on, fortunately jeans stack right up there on the loyalty counter. There is something very comforting about a pair of jeans. Granted, it is hard to put your finger on what the exact comforting factor is, but you know it’s there nonetheless. Perhaps we carry an ever burning torch for it because it is the most versatile garment ever created in the history of the fashion world. Unlike other clothing, they don’t have to be washed after every wear and they look hot with anything. Whether you are rocking them with just a t-shirt for a dressed down look or you are wearing them with a formal shirt and sports coat for a more sophisticated style… either way they go with anything and always make you look great.
Through the years, jeans have undergone an evolution – call it a denim revolution if you may. Way back in the 1800s, jeans were born out of a desire by American gold miners who wanted a garment that would be rugged and durable and not tear under pressure due to the demanding physical nature of their occupation. A businessman identified the need for a garment that would suit the needs of the miner and joined forces with a tailor who ingeniously embedded rivets in the stress points of their pants – this saw the birth of the jeans and a milestone in humankind. Since that glorious day, jeans have undergone a lengthy evolution.
Its popularity began to snowball amongst some of the blue collar sector. In the 1930’s American farmers and ranchers caught on to the idea of denim work-wear for their immense toughness and added comfort. To double-back a little, from the 1920s through to the 1940s, legions of cinema goers emerged with the rise of Hollywood. Cowboy movies were a huge hit. Those cowboys were always clad in a burly pair of jeans and won the admiration of viewers. Fans wanted to emulate their rugged heroes and the trend of jeans erupted with propulsion.
The US Navy and Coast Guard also adapted jeans into their attire. Its popularity continued to soar as a result of many off-duty soldiers using them as leisure-wear. American movie icons such as Marlon Brando and James Dean also popularised jeans and elevating them to a status of unquestionable style. The 1950s saw the jeans become the preferred trousers of the youth. It became a signifier of rebellion due to a jeans-clad James Dean in the cult flick, Rebel Without a Cause.
The 1960’s also openly embraced jeans as college students clad themselves in the much endeared garment and new styles of jeans began to emerge such as embroided jeans. To the world outside of America, they were a symbol of western decadence. They also became a canvass for self expression as the flower children of San Francisco who included their own patterns, studs, patchwork which people from around the world mimicked. In the 1970s, jeans took a funky twist with the inclusion loud and wild colours. They took on a new look with psychedelic patterns and exaggerated flared bottoms – certainly a fun and bold move for jeans.
A further renaissance in jeans came about when acid wash jeans emerged in the 1980s. For those of you that are too young to remember them, they are jeans that are treated with chlorine removing the top layer to make it look white with blue undertones. If you wanted to be extra hip you would wear it with a matching acid wash denim jacket. A lot of designer jeans began to emerge in this period. Other styles like stovepipe jeans and torn jeans also become a fad that raged on.
During the 1990s, the hip-hop world welcomed jeans with open arm, but they added their own spin. Jeans were made extra baggy reflecting individuality of rap culture as popularised by rap outfits such as Wu-Tang Clan and Naughty By Nature. The rap duo Kriss Kross also started an outrageous fad where, jeans were worn back to front. Another fad that arose was the lowering of jeans so that one’s boxer shorts was visible. Regrettably that trend has not died out completely… Indeed the 1990s were certainly a colourful year for jeans. However, as we got closer to 2000 a myriad of new styles and denims emerged.
The new millennium is certainly a good time for jeans lovers with the ever changing styles and trends of the denim pants. Artists such as Lenny Kravitz and Christina Aguilera began to popularise the low rise jeans. Bootleg jeans also gained prominence. Big-rig designers showcased creased skinny jeans and they later amassed a lot more popularity. Distressed (ripped) denim also became a popular fad.
One of the most definitive moments in the history of jeans was the emergence of the True Religion Apparel Inc, a globally successful American-made premium denim brand. It was founded in 2002 by Californian Jeffrey Lubell who was able to make a product that for once, is as great as the brand claims it is. His jeans caused a massive stir in the denim market and competitors soon found out that the bar has been raised very high.
Today, the garment is highly sought after by fashionistas and worn by many celebrities including Beyonce Knowles, the Simpson sisters, Jim Jones and the list goes on. True Religion Apparel currently owns and operates 102 branded retail stores in the United States, three branded retail stores in Canada, three branded retail stores in Japan, two branded retail states in Germany, one branded retail store in the United Kingdom and one branded store in Hong Kong; as well as distribution in luxury department stores and boutiques in 50 countries on six continents. True Religion’s success stems from Lubell’s foresight and ability to create a product that was carved out of American heritage and infused with 1970’s inspired styles that celebrate an authentic spirit of love and the art of rock ‘n roll.
True Religion hit South Africa in 2004 and mirrors the global image, signifying class and unquestionable style. Locally it is worn and endorsed by prominent figures such as Loyiso Bala, Kurt Darren, Lee-Ann Liebenberg, to name a few. Any person who is worth their fashion salt, need to grab a pair of True Religion jeans…