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The Blue Jeans And Anti Fashion Cultural Studies Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Cultural Studies
Wordcount: 4993 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Jeans in the 20th century beginning were adopted as a kind of anti-fashion- a cognizant, pointed statement that goes against the fashion norm and says,: ” I am different and not like you” – by a group of artists in the Santa Fe area. Generally, intellectual individuals took to wearing jeans as an identification of their own group identity and individual status. They were identifying themselves with the bleakness, the openness and the earthiness of the laborer and were placing themselves as a part of the Western scene. They also adopted a unisex appear.

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In the 1930s this group of artists continued to sport jeans, but something of the same desire was also advertise in the typical fashion world. Levi`s executives began supportive Easterners who were taking the recently admired “dude ranch” vacations to outfit themselves with jeans or waist overalls and the garments even became accessible for the first time in New York supplies. In the April 1935, Levi Strauss & Co. runs advertising in vogue: “true Western chic was invented by cowboys”. This was a first example where fashionable clients were confident to take on the impression of particular lifestyle by wearing jeans.

World War II was a turning peak for the blue jeans in United States. Materials were insufficient as a resource was unfocused to the war accomplishment, but with the rising number of labor force in the factories, great allotment of hard-wearing clothes was needed. Jeans were affirmed “essential commodities” and to supply the needs of thousand Rosie the Riveters. Jeans were considered as work clothes and they were used only in meticulous circumstance. Sometimes factory war was considered as part of the nationalistic and was thought of affectionately. To allotment female employees who had been used to wearing dresses and more contracting clothing, they must have also seemed invigorating and refreshingly comfortable. During the World War II fashion was shifting, also head wraps or turbans used in the factories to keep long curls, became part of adequate evening show off. Shoulder pads in the beginning seen in military uniforms, became an obligatory part of women`s civilian clothing. Jeans were suspended somewhere in the middle on the fashion/anti-fashion variety and were associated with particular war period lifestyle.

3.3. The blue jean Anti-Fashion: Tomboys, bad boys and bohemians

When World War II ended, jeans were no longer just outmoded garment; they came to have widespread dissimilar anti-fashion involvement. Square-shoulders female dress styles gave way in the sky-scraping style world to the ultra-feminine and very elegant “new look”, and the more rocky, unisex denim outfits began to be related with youth, freedom and rebellion. Vermont college students adopted jeans as a “virtual uniforms” on their college campus. They were usually known as “artistic” and were quite eccentric teenagers. Vermont college students used their garments to symbolize freedom-freedom from the criterion of conservative civilization.

From time to time this freedom was simply the prerogative of adolescence, and was seen as blameless and undamaging. In the 1940 Eddie Fisher murmured Dungaree Doll and evoked image of a cheerful Bobby Soxer, a tomboy who would sooner or later, in the words of another postwar song- “trade her bobby sox for stockings.”

One more type of freedom originated in the late 1950s, however, which was seen as much more threatening. Nearby was a group of disenfranchised individuals who could not find a position in the traditionalist climate of Cold War America and who reacted to it with estrangement and disparagement. They were a young generation symbolized in Marlon Brando`s “The Wild One” and James Dean`s “Rebel Without a Cause”, the annoyed or mystified or simply out of order “juvenile delinquents” who at their most tremendous flashed switchblades and exhaust fetters and terrorized neighborhoods. Jeans were so powerfully connected with these outcasts, in fact, that a1959 movie about an unwed adolescent mother was tellingly titled “Blue Denim”. The American Institute of Men`s and Boy`s Wear launched campaign, symbolized “dress right” and predominantly intended at blue jeans.

Associations with the Wild West actually substantiated or shatter proofed the anti-fashion announcement that jeans made in the 1950s. This was the period of the Gray Flannel Suit and the Organization Man. 1950s were characterized as a” strangled, constipated idea of a proper life”. It was the epoch of the Hollywood and TV Western movies. Positive and negative cowboys were sometimes differentiated by shade of their hats, but they all wore jeans. The Western at the same time replayed the good and awful guy’s situation of the Cold War and represented an escape from it, a incursion into a still wild or “untamed” past, where citizens did not have to fit into such vigilantly prearranged niches. “Baby Boomers”, who grew up with Western heroes grew up with descriptions of jeans, and wore them for their imaginative play. They wore them when they wanted to pace into daydream world that was outside the world of grand piano lessons, visiting family, going cinema and other submissive actions.

3.4. Anti-Fashion at its peak: The Personalized Jeans

In the 1960s occurred the “Jeaning America” and jeans took on a new position. The original symbols of the transfer really began in the late 1950s; when a different category of rebel, the bohemian or “beatnik”, began approve them with black sweaters for everyday wear. Unlike the Brando/Dean “bad boy” rebel, this was a dissenter, an urban intellectual who came to an ant fashion statement of this sport form a though-out position about the materialistic, conformist society of the day. To be dressed in plain jeans and dark colors was to refuse the “more is better”; “new is better” frame of mind of the Organization Man world. According to Levi Strauss & Co. executives Alfred Sanguinetti, 1962 noticeable the “breakout” point in jeans sales, with sale statistics replication in just three years. By 1967 the anti-fashion statement was shattering across the earth, for jeans were one of the most noticeable signs of the rapidly increasing numbers of disenfranchised adolescence.

The late 1960s were the confused period in which there was a noticeable acceleration of the undeclared war in Vietnam, a war that polarized the society, as well as led to extensive refusal of mainstream social norms on the division of the younger generation. The adolescent generation also conquered counterculture, which was made up of the identical baby-boomers who had worn jeans as play garments and had grown-up with James Dean and other such cultural icons, twisted to jeans very logically. Jeans were sensible, practical, long-lasting, and ageless; they were the very nature still altering and rapidly old-fashioned. They were cheap, comfortable and connected with physicality; they represented liberty with employment and play, came to situate for a society where there actually was no difference between the two.

As Valerie Carnes Puts it in a 1977 article entitled “Icons of Popular Fashion”:

“Denim jeans became [in the late 1960s] the ultimate no-fashion put down style- a classless, cheap, unisex look that stood for, variously, frontier values, democracy, plain living, ecology and health, rebellion, a la Brando or Dean, a new interest in the erotic import of the pelvis, or, as Charles Reich suggested in The Greeting of America, a deliberate rejection of the “artificial plastic-coated look” of the affluent consumer society.

Jeans might have the widespread anti fashion denominator among the youthful, but not all jeans were similar. Jeans wearers avoided the simulated facing and the sameness and artificiality, it displayed by the extremely perform of wearing their jeans. Jeans conformed more and more too scrupulous corpse shapes as they were worn and washed. Over time jeans came to clutch meticulous ” scars ” – frayed areas, strains, rips, patches – that could be connected with remembered actions and knowledge. A pair of jeans became exclusively private.

Quickly, southern culture teenagers were distinguished their jeans – decorating and exaggerated them, making them colorful and celebrity, and making them into noticeable, speaking personal statements. Everything that could be useful to denim fabric was applied to someone`s jeans, jeans jacket and related garnishes: silk, velvet, fleece, fluff, doorbells, beads, rivets, paints and so forth. Male workers who had never educated to stitch and who under the most part conditions would think of embroidery as unmanly learned essential stitches to work on their own garments. The unisex clothing that symbolized the unusual young generation civilization was an suitable vehicle for the collapse of gender roles, and besides, one`s pants were too personal to belief to anyone else. Entrants frequently affirmed that they found it tricky to part with the clothing long adequate for them to be displayed in the display; they experience they were giving up an element themselves.

3.5. The Blue Jean as Fashion statement

In several ways it had by this time become approximately necessary to considerably personalize one`s jeans in order to still create an anti-fashion announcement. Many of the external signs and even some of the fundamental ideas of the counterculture had been adopted by the conventional culture at liberty. Blue jeans became so accepted in the establishment that even such following figures as New York City Mayor John Lindsay and presidential candidate Jimmy Carter were pleased to wear them. Anti-fashion had not only been captivated by fashion, but turn out to be part of its very spirit. In the early 1970s, jeans and other denim clothing were also seen as characteristically American. Jeans had been urbanized in U.S. and had long carried relations of the American West, but once they had drinkable into international fashion prospect, they came to stand for the nation as a total.

“In 1973 the American Fashion Critics presented a special award to Levi Strauss for “a fundamental American fashion that now influences the word.” Niemen Marcus also gave Levi Strauss its Distinguished Service in Fashion Award that same year. The popular press began to print rhetorical questions like “after all, what`s more American than denim?” and in 1974 American Motors Corporation contracted with Levi Strauss to provide blue denim fabric for upholstery for its Gremlin and Hornet cars. The Gremlin, which was promoted as America`s answer to the Volkswagen Beetle, was meant to be both upbeat and patriotic, and denim furnishings were thought to communicate both qualities.” (Beverly Gordon, American denim, pg 87)

Jeans sales sustained to go up. Over 500 million pair of jeans was sold in the United States by 1977. Fashion and anti-fashion came exceptionally close throughout this period, but there were repeatedly two thrusts to the jeans trend. The counterculture sustained to flourish and maintained and fostered a do-your-own, personalize your garments visualization. Plentiful training books published between 1973 and 1977 approved a power to the people message and told populace how to fashion and modernize their own denim garments. Periodical with such titles as Clothing Liberation, Make it in Denim, the Jeans Scene, The jeans Book sustained to promoter low-cost and comfortable clothing made use of worn garments and other accessible resources. Second-hand goods and could not only be salvaged, but productively used.

By the late 1970s, when baby-boomers had been mostly engrossed into the work strength and the farm duties of parenting, and counterculture image had become subtle, the high-style fashion services won out over the anti-fashion style. Couture jeans cleaned down into the ready to wear market. Designer labels became an obsession. Calvin Klein, who drew awareness to jeans sporting his brand with an erotic promotion campaign, sold 125 000 pairs a week in 1979. Fashionable jeans were in such command that there was a thriving counterfeit deal, and by 1981 Good Housekeeping magazine ran a characteristic advising clients how to make sure they were trade “real think”. Designer jeans were based on anti-fashion prototypes, but they tended to be delicate: they did not, in the early Reagan period, usually sport overstated patches and dilapidated periphery. Often almost indistinguishable, they offered ostentations but self-possessed snob appeal. Denim was no longer enormous American equalizer. Home-produced and second hand garments, did not have a place in the less democratic epoch- or rather, they had a place, but it was back with the poor and have-nots. Designer jeans were made to fit and compliment the body, but they were made to be long-lasting and standardized rather than to era and change with the human being.

3.6. The Blue Jeans as style: Prepackaged knowledge

The 1960s anti-fashion style had certainly been seemed of well-used, lived in denims. The Vietnam years were extremely powerful – every day bought the guarantee of unbelievable disclosure of imminent apocalypse and knowledge was highly exciting. The jeans one wore were part of the knowledge they were realistic companions, they had been here. Even if they were not seriously festooned, they were covered with recollections, and held the accumulated accuse. Small speculate that elderly, washed out, tatted jeans were cherished; they were not only contented, but were far better-off and more consequential than those that wear new unharmed.

The most excellent jeans were those that had elderly naturally, over the course of instance and practice, but there were numerous home-based or do it yourself methods to accelerate the aging procedure in order to look respectable. Folk wisdom suggested the most excellent way to make softer until they desiccated. This could be done by drenched in the bathtub, but the sun and sea water of the ocean beach atmosphere was much preferred. Innovative pants were also home treated by resistance sandpaper and pumice gravel across the material, but burying them, or by adding up washing soda or peroxide to a tubful of water. The bleach behavior was notorious, for the most part because it weekend the material in the incorrect places and made it look lightened rather than damaged.

The discolored look was commercially imitated in a pre-bleached material for the first occasion in 1969, most probably stimulated by the sun-bleached pants seen on the Riviera, and the glance was admired in France. Some very expensive customized jeans were pre-predestined; items taken “Robbie`s Stud and Rhinestone Shop,” for example, were sent to denim vanishing lab before the studding procedure began. A small number of Americans laundry companies urbanized vanishing treatments in 1973 and jeans manufacturers like H. D. Lee constricted with them for more than a few thousand faded outfits, but bleached fabrics were at rest not the standard. More and more “prewashed” jeans were on the marketplace by the late 1970s, but the occurrence crept gradually. A 1981 Mademoiselle Fashion article spoke of the “new, washed out look”, but disparaged it for its additional costliness. Readers were advised to use reasonably priced profitable color removers or vanishing foodstuffs on their denims if they liked the look of prewashed fabrics.

The prewashed reconnaissance was featured of jeans by Guess; a company began in 1981, fascinatingly adequate, by four brothers who had immigrated to the United States from France. Guess denims achieved their hours, and by 1986 the company was already having difficulty finding launderers with whom they could delegate, as the treatments were contravention even the strongest washing technology. Guess foodstuffs, though luxurious began “Flying off departments store shelves” approximately as soon as they were surprised, and Guess captures a significant portion of the young generation market by the mid-1980s. Other companies rapidly found ways to imitate the prewashed look.

“Rolling Stone magazine proclaimed in May 1986 that the “best jeans available” were tripling bleached and double stone washed, but the sentiment was still by no means universally accepted.” (Beverly Gordon, American Denim, pg86)

The Guess predecessor and its shabby to death look sustained to pervade the trade denim marketplace, on the other hand and it efficiently conquered the 1987-1988 mode seasons. With violent opposition for many dollars spent on jeans and other denim stuff, it was not astonishing that innovation would be at a top, but there was an additional, more fundamental motive that such foodstuffs caught on. The 1980s harvest of worn and faded-looking jeans wear provided youthful clientele with outfit. It even more dangerously that the Authentic Stone, represented a pre-packed type of knowledge that was risk-free.

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The real powerful and heady knowledge of the counter culture Vietnam generation are not accessible to today`s adolescence. Free love and easy sexuality have been qualified by the terrifying fear of AIDS and positive faith in prolonged awareness through mind-altering drugs has been shattered by the specter of fracture and other lethal substances. The word no longer seems complete of everlasting guarantee. It is no longer probable to take to the road with the definitely that there will be “brothers” who will make available places to stay along way; this is the period of the dispossessed and alcoholism. The realistic of child violence, incest, alcoholism and family aggression are ever more obvious. There is no upsurge of fervent feeling to tap into, no comprehensible hallucination of a better prospect. Unlike the kids of the 1960s, then, the children of the 1980s are watchful and correctly frightened. I preserve that they have taken to the washed-out ragged clothing because they involve knowledge, exciting activity and drama and offer a shocking experience of it. These garments offer the defense of the most up to date style, but the fashion itself alludes to the anti-style of a previous time, and acting upon a longing for the civilization that fashioned it.

3.7. Distressed Jeans

The conditions used to explain the new denim-wear are quite significant. Jeans are now subjected not only gravel, but to acid; it is “physically abused”, “nervous”, “sabotaged” and “irritating”; it has been washed out. It is also chilly and frosty. At first these conditions seemed suggestive of the words used in the Vietnam period for the drug practice, but in realism they have a much harder, more suffering border. One was stoned or wiped out from a profusion of practice; no one has merely battered the hurricane.

“Descriptive labels that come with this aged denim-wear try to be comforting. “This garment is made to look used and soft” one states. “It is broken in just for you.” Customers are reassured that the jeans are “inspired by the faded, comfortable character” of well-worn clothing, or by the “comfortable good looks and free-wheeling spirit of aviators and prairie hands”. This is “authentic apparel,” state the labels; these garments are “like three years old”. The underlying message is that the world out there is a tough one, but the clothing has been through it and has already taken it. It is protective, for it acts as a foil and absorbs the shock so its owner does not have to. It is soothing, “worn denim is man`s best friend”. (Beverly Gordon. American Denim, pg87)

In 1988 fashion period was rented from free-spirited, make your own tendency. Couturiers were beginning to demonstrate this look in about 1989, but now growing numbers of ready to wear clothing are intended to look as if they were made from more than a few pairs of jeans. There are waistbands particulars tucked into bodies or twisted upside-down on the bottom of jackets; there are strange pockets and strap loops sewn in at cheerful slanting angels. Complementary paint patches, predominantly in matters ticking points, are also apparent.

Every single these fashionable looks are measly facades. Pre-washed denims are not actually made just for any person, they hold no one`s personality contours. Jackets may have additional waistbands and additional pockets or patches, but they do not have the free-spirited impulsiveness and newness of the make-your-own period. Wear and slash that that develops during successive hours of laundering does not essentially happen in areas that would be obviously stressed or damaged, and sewn in fringed salvages look too standard to be authentic. These clothing may first allude to a different period, and may present the false impression of awareness and comfort, but illusions are all they propose. They are in realism pre-packaged, just like the Authentic Stone. They set up a frontage for their wearers, a front elevation that makes them seem bigger than they may be able to be. The look has struck a approachable harmony, for it speaks to a hunger on the part of the young jeans consumers, a yearning for a time when the planet was not dangerous, but exhilarating, and full of guarantee and imminent innovation.

3.8. Elite Vs Populist Position Markers

Beyond the meta-communicative meaning, the twists, inversion, disagreement and paradoxes of position imagery to which blue jeans consequently lent themselves put forward the subtle individuality ambivalences at a play among many of its wearers. In a 1973 section titled “Denim and New Conservatives” Kennedy Fraser (1981) renowned several such incongruities, the most sarcastic, perhaps, being:

“…some of the most expensive versions of the All- American denim theme have come bouncing into tour store from European manufacturers. The irresistible pull of both European fashion and denim means that American customers will play large sums for, say, French blue jeans despite the galling knowledge that fashionable young people in Saint-Tropez are only imitating young people in America, a country that can and does produce better and cheaper blue jeans than France.” (Fred Davis, of Maids Uniforms and Blue jeans, the drama of status ambivalence in clothing and Fashion, 1989 Human Science Press)

Framing the status dialectic was the competition of polarities, one pole continuing to give emphasis to and make bigger blue jeans” base line” symbolism of social equality, helpfulness and egalitarianism, the other seeking to reintroduce conventional claims to taste, division and hierarchical separation. Any individual weaver, often the item of clothing itself, might try to meld motifs from both sides in the hope of registering a unbiased, yet appropriately ambivalent, declaration.

3.9. Designer Jeans

From the accurate symbolic extremity there emerged a host of stratagems and approach which sought, in effect, to de-democratize the jeans while capitalizing on the ecumenical appeal it had attained. Leader among these were: expensive designer jeans which outstandingly displayed the ticket of the designer, jeans bearing factory sewn-in embroidering, nail heads, and other ornamental accompaniments; especially cut and sized jeans women, kids and elder persons and combining jeans with items of garments standing in sharp symbolic challenge of them, for example: furs, dress shoes, spiked heels, blouses, sport jackets and so forth.

The occurrence of designer jeans speaks most in a straight line to clothing encoding of status ambivalences. The incredibly act of affixing a well-recognized designer label and some of the world` s most important couturiers in time did so – to the back side of pair of jeans can easily be interpreted an example of noticeable consumption. It is muting of the fundamental rough-hewn announcement image of the clothing, from side to side the introduction of a well-known status maker. True, the embroidery of an exterior designer label onto denims – a practice designer never resorts to with other outfits – was facilitated expressively by the famous “Levi Strauss & Co.” label, which had form the start been sewn above the right his pocket of that firm`s denim jeans and over the years become an indivisible part of the article of clothing`s persona. It could then be argued, as it from time to time was, that the outside stitching of a designer label was dependable with the traditional picture of blue jeans. Notwithstanding, Yves St. Laurent, Oscar De La Renta or Gloria Vanderbilt aren`t names one assimilates simply to Levi Strauss, Lee Wrangler, a difference hardly lost on most regulars.

“As is so characteristic of fashion, however, every action elicits of reaction. NO sooner had the snob-like, status-conscious symbolism of designer jeans made its impact on the market, than dress coteries emerged whose sartorial stock-in-trade was a declaration of disdain for the invidious distinctions registered by so obvious a status ploy. This was accomplished mainly through a demonstration of hyper-faithfulness to the original, underlying egalitarian message of the denim blue jean. As Kennedy Fraser (1980, pg93) was to observe of these counter-cylicists 1973:

“The denim style of the more sensitive enclaves of the Village, the West Side, and SoHo is the style of the purist and neo-ascetic. Unlike the “chic” devotee of blue jeans, this loyalist often wears positively baggy denims, and scorns such travesties as embroideries and nail heads. To underline their association with honesty and toil, the denims of choice are often overalls.” (Fred Davis, of Maids Uniforms and Blue jeans, the drama of status ambivalence in clothing and Fashion, 1989 Human Science Press)

Almost immediately, the positively baggy jeans of which Fraser speaks stimulated negative answer of status characteristic – were themselves assimilated into the fashion rotation with that doubly impulsive irony at which fashion is so accomplished.

3.10. Promotion the illustration

Photographs used in periodical promotion for this denim garments hold up the hypothesis developed on top of. Jeans producers take it for arranged at this point that their manufactured goods attractive, but they fight to create unforgettable images that prospective purchasers will character them. As a result, the photographs do not attribute the clothing as much as construct a atmosphere or tell a story.

“The stories are dreamy and “mythic” and full of implications. Sometimes they imply a free and uninhibited sexuality – Calvin Klein advertisements featuring photographs by Bruce Weber consist of ambiguous images such as one woman surrounded but four men, two of whom are shirtless, or an odd tangle of bodies on the grass. Guess advertisements often include unbuttoned and unbuckled clothing and glimpses of Lacy underwear beneath. A recent Jordache ad was headlined, “I can`t Get No Satisfaction,” and simulated a young man`s internal monologue: ” I don`t know what is with you girls… Your body says yes but your lips say no… but you, Sandy, you are not like the rest. You would not play with my head…” The story had a happy ending, for in the next frame Sandy and the young man are entwined together, and he is peering soulfully into her denim jacket. Even where there is no explicit sexuality, there is a sensual undertone. Characters in Guess advertisements are always positioned suggestively, leaning, stretching, or slouching with studied ease. Many of the Vignettes include references to the adventurous past of the blue jeans. There are couples leaning on motorcycles, like Calvin Klein and men in black leather, like Guess; rugged rodeo riders or free-wheeling Western characters with bolo ties or bandana neckerchiefs (Guess, Levi`s); and even a young girl with head kerchief that look as she just stepped off the wagon train ( Guess ). There are aviators and wavy-haired workers from the World War II era (work force-the Gap) and sullen bohemian types dressed in black (CK).” (Beverly Gorgon, American Denim, pg88)

Blue jeans and associated denim fashion have, in addition come to stand not just for the World War II or craggy manual workers or the hardworking farmer- they have turn out to be an essential element of the entire American and perhaps the universal panorama. They have been lightened, ripped, washed with sharp, washed with gravel, patched, cut up, decorated, troubled, but they are flexible and seem to always be intelligent to come back in yet another appearance and take on yet an additional layer of denotation. They have served as signs of the culture all great and of subsets of that culture and of rebellious, honest counterculture groups; they have been stylish, old-fashioned, and hallmarks of anti-fashion. They have personified many of the desire, attitude, and realities of the generations that have worn them. We must observe and try to appreciate them as they carry on developing.


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