It is hard to believe that roughly twenty years ago torn denim was a mainstay in San Francisco Bay Area fashion. Everyone had holes, rips and cuts in at least one spot of their jeans. From elementary age children through to adults torn jeans were the only casual pants of choice. If anyone dared to leave the house without so much as a string hanging from his/her jeans, that person was destined for embarrassment. Many fashionistas in the bay area would buy a great pair of Levi’s, Guess jeans or even Bongo jeans and take a large pair of scissors to the knees and the bottom of the derrière. To buy the jeans already torn was considered, well, unfashionable!
Fashionistas in the late 1980s and early 1990s began to get very creative with their torn jeans. Many people wanted to have the most severe rips possible, and in order to achieve this the pants no longer kept certain parts covered. In order to wear these severe cuts, many creative fashionistas went down to the fabric store and found interesting remnants that could be used to cover the holes of the jeans around the parts that needed covering; the derrière! Patches were sewn inside the jeans in order to ensure that all of the strings from the cuts could still be seen from the outside. Women opted for small florals and medium sized paisley’s while men preferred solid colors or handkerchiefs. As the early-nineties approached, jeans barely looked like pants anymore, and as a result, there was a backlash. Denim pants, once again, enjoyed the rest of the decade in one piece; free of cuts.
Denim has been whole ever since the torn trend ceased, but, Spring 2010 and Fall 2010 have challenged denim fabric once again. The runways for Spring 2010 showed cuts, rips and tears with hanging string around the knees on denim pants. Fall 2010 runways displayed a full-blown torn denim trend; a clear throwback to the late 1980s and early 1990s. This time around, it seems that torn denim is already on store bought jeans. Will we see a revival of hand-made cuts? Much like the tie-dye trend, the torn denim trend is one that can be done at home. All a fashionista on a budget needs is a pair of jeans and a pair of scissors. After the cuts have strategically been made, wash the jeans. Voilà! Denim that is right on trend.
Although torn denim is appearing all over the runways and has made it onto store shelves at The Gap, Diesel and major departments stores, does this mean it is catching on? Will the next decade be filled with ripped jeans? If you wore torn jeans as a teen, will you wear them again? The big question still remains; Are torn or ripped jeans fashion fabulous or fashion train wreck?