Mercer Street, Soho
New York Fashion Week
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The destroyed denim is something that’s been around for quite awhile. In my lifetime, I remember it first being the cool thing to do in the early 90s — back then, torn denims were never store bought; you had to do it yourself. (Quick tangent; I cannot prove this, but I swear there was an episode of Seasame Street when I was kid where a girl took a pair of scissors to her jeans at the knees and one of the muppets — probably Elmo — freaked out.) Hip-Hop became more mainstreams shortly after, and then then ripped jean went away for a good 15 years before resurfacing in California during the mid-00s. In version 2.0, you could not only buy destroyed denims from places like mall stalwarts like Abercrombie & Fitch and Express, but there were companies in existence that you could send you favourite pair of jeans to, and then tell them how to destroy it.
I moved away from California at the end of the decade just as the lunacy began to fade, thinking that this was just another recycled fad that had seen its. Except that to my surprise, it didn’t die in its second inception. The ripped denim is something that stays hot, somewhere in the world, at all times. In 2015 it exploded again on the West Coast, and into 2016 it is once again a ubiquitous staple.
It would be easy for me to dismiss all destroyed jeans as being equal, but this is far from the case. Great care goes into the shred method, the placement and symmetry, the option to leave the undrer-threading intact, and most important of all, what type of denim this technique is best applied to. To this point, there was one look that was particularly interesting: what appeared to be a skirt (shredded for shape) over jeans ripped out at the knees. Photo below. I don’t know what it was about that look, but helps to answer the question of why this trend has remained in the leader house for so long after all other trends have faded away. The destroyed denim, for those who really care, is its own art.