The Birth and Rebirth of Denim

It has been almost 20 years since the death of the beloved decade of the 1990’s. Today’s young adults look back at this time with a feeling of nostalgia, remembering the beloved Nickelodeon cartoons, the hits of Britney Spears and N’Sync, and most of all, the iconic fashion trends. With the abundance of streaked hair, gotty short skirts, and who could forget Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears’s denim on denim red carpet look, these “fashion yes’s” inevitably reached the end of their days and quickly became major “fashion no’s.”

Throughout history, denim has made its way into the world as a staple piece that could be found in just about anyones closet. It’s history is detailed at its origins as a simple, sturdy pair of work pants for men. However, denim became useful in more ways than one when it helped to bridge the gender gap within society early on when women began wearing them to aid in tough farm work. Not long after, Vogue debuted jeans as a piece for women as early as the 1930s. The denim fabric made its way into the world as an overall necessity that has yet to completely leave store shelves.

However, the way denim is used and marketed is constantly changing. During the 90’s, denim seemed to have reached its peak, deemed red carpet worthy by icons such as Beyonce and Britney Spears. High fashion markets such as Chanel, Dior, Versace, and more created denim looks for the runway. Instead of opting for simple pairs of jeans, the designers stepped outside of the box with denim dresses, tops, skirts, ultimately any style imaginable.

arts n’ crafts

A post shared by Kendall (@kendalljenner) on Nov 12, 2016 at 2:51pm PST

So, what happened? Like all good things, this trend had to reach its end. In the earlier 2000s, denim pieces aside from jeans were becoming obsolete. Denim jackets were stuffed into the backs of closets, not to be seen again until today. It is no secret trends tend to circle back, and in 2017, almost every retail store carries some thing that was thrown out at the end of the 90’s.

In a survey by Piper Jaffray on teen spending in 2017, “Denim brands saw an uptick to 19% aggregated mindshare and showed up as a top trend among upper-income females for the second consecutive survey.” A quick scroll through Instagram would show Kylie Jenner dressed head to toe in denim, Beyonce sporting a denim shirt, and Rihanna sporting a denim skirt. Denim pieces of every kind are slowly making their way back into stores and on to the on trend young adults of today.

A post shared by Kylie (@kyliejenner) on Feb 12, 2017 at 4:40pm PST


“Honestly, I think it all comes from a lack of creativity. I think there are only so many fabrics, so many different kinds of pieces, so many patterns, whatever, that certain trends have to be recycled and revamped to match the market of today.”

-Manager of high in retailer GUESS, Nikki Taylor

No matter the popularity, some styles are certainly more successful than others. “It depends on the person, but the denim pieces are definitely hit or miss. I see more of an audience for the bottom pieces like jeans and skirts. Some pieces are just too crazy, because I think they’re trying to bring the 90’s back, but with a 2017 revamp, and sometimes it’s just too much” said Taylor.

Love it, or hate it, it doesn’t sound like the trend will last for very long. “I think certain aspects of the trend will die. The push right now will die because that’s just what happens.” said Taylor. A combination of celebrity exposure, its presence in high in fashion, and nostalgia for the past is what has contributed to the ultimate return of denim. Maybe in twenty years, the return of the late 2010s will be what’s hot on the market.


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