Ripped jeans have been gracing people's wardrobes for decades. But have you ever wondered what the history of ripped jeans was? Where did they originate, and how did they become prevalent in mainstream culture?
Distressed versus Ripped Jeans
Before diving into where ripped jeans come from, it's essential to address the differences between these and distressed jeans.
Distressed jeans are visibly worn jeans. All ripped jeans are distressed jeans. However, not all distressed jeans are necessarily ripped jeans.
Distressed jeans may also include those that look worn or have been bleached in spots. However, many of these jeans are also ripped or torn alongside other forms of denim distress.
Jeans Debut in the Late 1800s
Although they're everywhere you look today, jeans weren't always the bottoms of choice. The first pair was of jeans was designed by Levi Strauss in the late 1800s. Before this, cloth pants were the norm.
The first jeans were designed because Levi Strauss saw that twilled cotton was durable yet comfortable. This was a winning combination for the working man, and that is who they were first marketed to.
When compared to their long lifespans, jeans were also reasonably affordable. Where a pair of plain cloth trousers may only last a few months to a year, jeans could (and did) last years.
A Sign of Poverty
People may have different associations with ripped jeans today, but they were initially a sign of poverty. The holes and worn areas of the jeans were from use.
Those living in poverty would wear a single pair of jeans for as long as possible, rips and all. They didn't have the money to buy new ones until absolutely necessary.
Becoming a Counter-Culture Symbol
It was during the 1970s that the association of ripped jeans switched away from poverty. During this time, counter-culture icons like Johnny Rotten (of British punk band, The Sex Pistols) and Joey Ramone (of American punk band, The Ramones) took ripped jeans as their own.
For reference, counter-culture is anything that rebels against the mainstream or what everyone else is doing. It goes beyond fashion to permeate all media, as well as the beliefs of a group of people.
Ripped jeans may be one of the most identifiable fashion icons of counter culture, but they're far from the only one. Tattered vests, patches, black boots, and unique hairstyles were also taken as fashion symbols of counter-culture.
Fashionable Ripped Jeans of Your Own
Today, ripped jeans aren't a symbol of poverty. While they remain popular in counter culture, they aren't synonymous with it. People of all ages and persuasions have ripped jeans in their wardrobes.
If you'd like a pair of fashionable, comfortable ripped jeans of your own, you can browse the online selection at Amolyist today.