Written by David Vogel Tuesday, 20 February 2007 18:00I'm worried about my jeans. I think they might be victims of physical abuse.
I say this because the other day, as I was putting them away, I noticed a rather upsetting detail on the back label, which is made to look like fake leather.
Underneath the company (Urban Up Pipeline) logo was written this disturbing message: "Distressed for true vintage quality."
This bothered me. I don't claim to be any kind of Clothing Rights Activist-I don't, for example, picket in front of the mall waving a sign proclaiming, "Free the Sales!" But had I known before purchasing these jeans that they had been "distressed for true vintage quality," I never would have bought them.
I don't know about you, but I feel that stooping to the level of mistreating our leg wear just for our own personal fashion taste is uncalled for.
Worried for my jeans' mental stability, I looked up some indications of abuse. These included low self-esteem, eating disorders, unnatural fading and raggedness at the bottom of both legs.
Upon further inspection, I discovered these particular jeans had been made in Nicaragua. I don't know where Nicaragua is (Answer: overseas), but it sounds foreign.
I can just picture the chilling setting of one of those sleazy Nicaraguan sweatshops, where hundreds of denim clothing items arrive each day. Then, at the notorious warehouses, they are brutally distressed for true vintage quality, including becoming faded in areas that are completely unnatural for jeans to be faded.
I'm talking about those overly faded streaks that often appear on the upper, front thigh, just around the pocket area. It looks as if someone at the Nicaraguan factory was bored, and suddenly thought, "Hey! This would look really cool if I just took some bleach and splashed it in spots that are completely abnormal for fading!"
Of course, they would have been thinking in whatever language that Nicaraguans think in (Answer: something other than English).
I recently saw brand-new jeans hanging on a Wal-Mart rack that had actual paint splotches on them. I don't know about you, but I was raised with the mentality that if you find a stain on a new piece of clothing, you exchange it. So now I'm wondering, if someone bought those jeans and noticed that there wasn't a stain, would they return it?
For some odd reason, the trend of buying brand-new jeans that look like they've been owned by a cowboy for at least a decade has caught on within the last several years. And the majority of these consumers are teenagers.
I'm not quite sure how it got to be cool to look like you just got dragged through several miles of rural roads. It might have something to do with the music that we youth are listening to. I happen to know we teenagers are enthralled with a certain musical concept called "bass."
In fact, we don't really care if there's any actual melody. But if we can stand in front of an amplifier and have our hair blown back, we're happy.
And when we're in our cars, we really have to crank up the bass so we can tell which rumbling is the bass, and which is the car running.
Spend more than a few minutes riding around in a small compartment with the bass cranked up so loud that small nuclear reactions are taking place in the back seat, and it definitely starts to mess with your brain.
By the time the teenager gets out of his or her car, the brain has turned to a tapioca-like substance, and the first thing they think is, "Hey! Let's go buy some $80 designer jeans that look like they've been through a field cultivator!"
Personally, I don't listen to that kind of music. I tend to lean more toward the country style of music, which does not make you want to buy ratty jeans. It makes you want to go out and rope some calves more than anything.
So my brain hasn't been turned to a complete pulp. The reason I happen to own jeans that have been distressed is because I'm what you'd call a trend follower.
Trend followers are people who are just smart enough to catch onto what's cool, but not quite sharp enough to figure out why. This is why I personally own three pairs of jeans that have some level of vintageness.
In fact, the jeans I bought most recently I've had for only a few weeks. However, despite their newness, they have been distressed for true vintage quality at the factory to the point of the button actually coming loose, and, at times, falling out.
As you can imagine, this tends to be a problem.
That's what worries me about these vintage-quality jeans. I'm envisioning a time, not so distant from now, when true tragedy strikes because of these distressed jeans.
Supposing a large portion of all teenagers went out and bought raggedy jeans at about the same time when it became popular, at some point, because of all the in-factory distressing, there will be a moment when the jeans will all just crumble to pieces in one, synchronized moment.
I can just picture the majority of American teenagers suddenly finding themselves without pants.
Of course, now that I think about it, maybe it wouldn't be that dramatic. We've all be wearing our pants so low for so many years, now, that everybody knows what our underwear looks like anyhow.
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UFO: The FBI got the idea for the "10 Most Wanted" list from the fashion designer who invented the "10 Best-Dressed Women" survey.
Don't ask why.