Today, denim is as good as naked.
“Back to Blue means getting back to what matters most – our truest selves, when we are most comfortable in our own skin,” said Seth Farbman, Gap’s Global Chief Marketing Officer, in a press release last August announcing their Fall 2013 campaign. “With style, people are seeking authentic denim and chambray – clothes you can wear almost anywhere but never forget who you really are.”
Back to blue? It’s never really left. Denim has become more our skin than skin and it’s also totally creepy. Like, isn’t it kinda weird that we’ve given denim the task of exhibiting our truest selves?
Of all the fashion messages we deify as influential and essential, the denim jean actually is that. It’s McDonald’s. Just as much Mexican as it is Filipino as it is French as it is American, denim’s durability stands up to the wear of many different cultures and lifestyles. That ubiquity makes them the perfect playground for designer experimentation. Any creation can be instantly grounded by that perceived “reality.” From its work wear roots during the California Gold Rush to licensed designer denim in the 70s and 80s, denim’s mobility through time, space, class, and aesthetic has made it impossible to avoid. Denim simultaneously evokes iconography and resists definition simply for its usefulness. It’s easy.
This ability to shape shift and create whatever image we want while masquerading as something so unquestionably approachable allows denim life beyond just a pair of pants. Even if denim runs rampant in our daily lives and on catwalks, there are automatic assumptions. What does it say that we entrust our truest selves with a garment that is so easy it lacks effort? Do we become easygoing by association or lazy and careless? Those are questions denim asks but we answer.
Denim jeans may be invisible, but we aren’t. That’s both their success and their problem. Invisibility is only afforded to those in control and denim won’t show off your truest self unless you take care to make it so. Which sucks, because you gotta wear something exact to send a certain message to people who are gonna screw up your vibe anyway. When the system is reconfigured to allow everyone to feel in their skin in their denim, we’ll have success.
There’s something irresistible about having on a great pair of jeans, but that’s too simple an approach. If we don’t question how we equate our authenticity with invisibility, we forget about all of the elements fashion gives us to play and explore what that really means. It’s not lying to put on the frills and it’s not telling the truth to slip on some jeans. We have all of those options. Taking advantage of them to create something singularly, uniquely our own makes style exciting. So instead of forgetting about denim (because we could never), here are our 10 favorite interpretations of it on the runway, in no particular order:
Now we’re all inspired to go out to buy some jeans. No other garment elicits such craze and evasiveness for such a vast amount of people. For something “everybody” wears, it’s way difficult to find your perfect pair. We’ve been on our individual journeys. High rise medium wash simple straight legs for Iris and high waist light wash 1970s flares for Daniel. Maybe we’ll never find them, but we imagine that buttoning the fly to the perfect pair of jeans will be an experience to cherish. And loving your clothes that much? Totally our truest selves.
Images from Style.com, Stylebistro, Racked, and MyFDB