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Denim’s Debut: The History Of The Pants That Revolutionized Rock N’ Roll, Labor Work, Counterculture, And High Fashion Alike

Still, it took one more decade for jeans and denim in general to penetrate the wardrobes of counterculture rebels and rock stars.

James Dean and Marlon Brando kickstarted this trend by portraying seductive and defiant teens dressed head to toe in denim. Then, rock stars came next– cementing denim as the “next big thing” in fashion.

Anti-war protestors and hippies also followed suit in the 1960s and 1970s by attending marches, rallies, and gatherings while denim-clad.

And during the women’s liberation movement, feminists and organizers also opted to wear blue jeans to tear down labor stereotypes and promote gender equality.

Interestingly, the “denim jean” had become such a symbol of the counterculture by the 1960s that some high schools even banned the pant.

But, not being able to have the garment only enhanced its “cool” factor among youth– and people across the nation continued to rebel against the status quo.

And finally, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the denim jean saw a reinvention as a high fashion item.

Calvin Klein became the first designer to ever display jeans on a runway, and Elio Fiorucci debuted the “Buffalo 70” jeans– a tight, expensive, and hard-to-come-by iteration of the faded and loose bell-bottoms loved by hippies and youth.

Now, couture brands such as Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, and Versace have been a staple in the luxury jean market for about thirty years.

Nonetheless, all styles of jeans have continued to serve their respective purposes among all different subgroups.

Hip-hop stars and fans continue to popularize the oversized and sagging jean. Meanwhile, hipsters and millennials are known for wearing tightly fitted and dark-colored denim.

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