Unraveling Our Jeans

The symbolic meaning of jeans has greatly changed over time, especially in the last couple decades. In the 1900’s, jeans were uncomfortable, “ill fitting”, and wore by mostly the blue collar workforce. They were a sign of lower economic, and social class. But as stitching, and sewing patterns changed, jeans became more comfortable, and started to become worn more casually. Jeans went from being a sign of lower class, to becoming a signature sign of several subcultures. During the emergence of the punk rock scene in the 80s, tight legged, skinny jeans became the style of those involved in the punk scene. Baggy jeans became the renown look for a hip hop b-boy in the 90s and early 2000s.

Jeans have always possessed a strong symbolic value in society. I’ve worn jeans my whole life. To work, to school, to hang out. I went from wearing baggy jeans, to regular normal fitting fitting jeans. As I grew up, matured, and my personality changed, so did my jeans. However for as long as I could remember, I’ve always worn Levi Jeans. Since the day I came to America when I was two years old, I can’t remember wearing anything but Levis. In a way, Levis Jeans represent the Americanization of myself.

 

-Ali Suliman 008

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4 comments
  1. Anonymous said:

    I can see how Levis would represent the Americanization of you. Especially if you come from a culture that usually wears clothing pertaining to your religion. Even though I was born in America, jeans in general even Americanize me in the eyes of my grandparents or other elderly family.
    Levis are known worldwide for their denim’s and they are found in every department store in every style, color, cut, and fit. Macy’s is a popular department store, and the one on 34th street has a huge section devoted to Levis denim. Every department store you go into will surely have Levis denims. Therefore, it is difficult to stay away from them. It is even more difficult since I agree that “Jeans have always possessed a strong symbolic value in society.” Since I was around 10 years old and I ventured out to find my own style I would always want name brand jeans, from DKNY to Calvin Klein. I felt that these brands reflected on who I wanted to be. They also had to be the cut that was “in” at that time. In the 90’s, bell bottoms were popular so I wouldn’t dare wear boot cut or skinnies back then. But then around 2008 the style shifted to skinny jeans for both girls and boys. That meant it was time for me to switch to skinny jeans since that would mean I am in sync with the popular style at the time. Even though the symbolic value may be different for everyone, it surely does exist.

  2. Anonymous said:

    I can see how Levis would represent the Americanization of you. Especially if you come from a culture that usually wears clothing pertaining to your religion. Even though I was born in America, jeans in general even Americanize me in the eyes of my grandparents or other elderly family.
    Levis are known worldwide for their denim’s and they are found in every department store in every style, color, cut, and fit. Macy’s is a popular department store, and the one on 34th street has a huge section devoted to Levis denim. Every department store you go into will surely have Levis denims. Therefore, it is difficult to stay away from them. It is even more difficult since I agree that “Jeans have always possessed a strong symbolic value in society.” Since I was around 10 years old and I ventured out to find my own style I would always want name brand jeans, from DKNY to Calvin Klein. I felt that these brands reflected on who I wanted to be. They also had to be the cut that was “in” at that time. In the 90’s, bell bottoms were popular so I wouldn’t dare wear boot cut or skinnies back then. But then around 2008 the style shifted to skinny jeans for both girls and boys. That meant it was time for me to switch to skinny jeans since that would mean I am in sync with the popular style at the time. Even though the symbolic value may be different for everyone, it surely does exist.

    ~GBelpat

  3. gbelpat said:

    I can see how Levis would represent the Americanization of you. Especially if you come from a culture that usually wears clothing pertaining to your religion. Even though I was born in America, jeans in general even Americanize me in the eyes of my grandparents or other elderly family.
    Levis are known worldwide for their denim’s and they are found in every department store in every style, color, cut, and fit. Macy’s is a popular department store, and the one on 34th street has a huge section devoted to Levis denim. Every department store you go into will surely have Levis denims. Therefore, it is difficult to stay away from them. It is even more difficult since I agree that “Jeans have always possessed a strong symbolic value in society.” Since I was around 10 years old and I ventured out to find my own style I would always want name brand jeans, from DKNY to Calvin Klein. I felt that these brands reflected on who I wanted to be. They also had to be the cut that was “in” at that time. In the 90’s, bell bottoms were popular so I wouldn’t dare wear boot cut or skinnies back then. But then around 2008 the style shifted to skinny jeans for both girls and boys. That meant it was time for me to switch to skinny jeans since that would mean I am in sync with the popular style at the time. Even though the symbolic value may be different for everyone, it surely does exist.
    ~G.Belpat

  4. morikuniyh said:

    I also felt like, ”Levis Jeans represent the Americanization of myself.” Or moreover Jeans itself represent the Americanzation to me. After WWⅡ, people in our country tried to catch up with America, so we used alphabet on the items to feel like they were made in AMERICA, even they were made in Japan. It looked like we wore clothes and/or items which were imported from America. So if we wore and had something with alphabet, we felt the Americanzation and it seemed cool. So EDWIN, the Japanese Jeans brand, also uses the alphabet on their logo, not our language. Not only jeans brand, but also car brands; TOYOTA, HONDA, MAZDA, NISSAN also use alphabet on the their logo. It still continue the idea “Americanization” nowadays in Japan. You can see a lot of things around Japan the alphabet now, too. I think the idea basically started from “Levis Jeans”.
    M.Haruyo

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