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Ripped Jeans Have Recently Faced Flak, But They Originated During the Punk Movement in 1970s

Representative image

Representative image

While the jeans were initially designed in 1870s for the working class men, the punk movement in 1970s saw these trousers being cut as mark of protest.

In vogue for quite some time, ripped jeans suddenly became the talk of town on Wednesday after Uttarakhand chief minister Tirath Singh Rawat ridiculed the clothing, calling it a bad influence. Speaking at an anti-substance abuse workshop organised by the Uttarakhand State Commission for Protection of Child Rights in Dehradun on Tuesday, Rawat said that ripped jeans are ‘bad examples’ set by parents. He further expressed his apprehension towards bare knees being exposed and went on to draw a parallel between the Indian and western culture. He also said that while the western world is following our tradition of yoga and ‘covering up’, Indians were running towards ‘nudity.’

The tattered jeans, with lose thread or a cut (or cuts) here and there, have been among young women’s favourite fashion for some time now. It is one of those trends which may initially seems ridiculous, but manages to catch on. Celebrities too have been flaunting the ripped jeans and has been an essential of the much talked about airport fashion.

While the jeans were first designed in late 1870s by Loeb Strauss, a German businessman, it came to be customised, designed and redesigned over the years. The trousers were essentially designed for the working class men, given its durability and deep indigo colour, which was done using the dye extracted from India. The colour and the durability made it “more practical for the working environment”.

However, the ‘ripped’ trend came much later, as part of a social movement in 1970s. The cuts and the incisions over the jeans were made as mark of anger towards society. This came to be seen as political movement. Madonna among other celebrities popularised the trend, and soon fans started following the trend. Hence, a political expression of anger and protest turned into a fashion trend. Initially, fans and followers ripped their jeans at home, but soon denim companies commercialised the trend and introduced the ‘ripped jeans’ as part of their consumer goods.

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There was a lull in the following years over ‘ripped jeans’. Monkey wash, bootcut, double-shaded jeans, etc filled the market till 2010. Then, the ripped jeans made a come back in the market and were rebranded as ‘distressed’ denim as brands like Diesel and Balmain presented the ‘distressed’ jeans at a catwalk. Soon, stores started following the trend too.

The naysayers of the ripped jeans trend often ridicule it for making people shell out extra money for a few cuts that can be made at home only. However, the trend that began with making those cut at home only, became a fashion trend because of the material used. The denim earlier was a lightweight fabric, but is now a thicker, stiffer fabric, far harder to rip.

The cuts in the jeans is made using two techniques, a laser, or simply by hand. The machine used to makes those incisions is called a 2500W Laser Sharp DenimHD Abrasion System. The jeans are held against a metal backdrop and the laser is shot at the denim to burn the holes according to the designs.