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Parachute cut. Baggy cut. Straight cut. Skinny cut. Super skinny cut. For the past 2 decades of my existence, this has been the development of denim. The more fashion develops, the slimmer denim becomes. I remember that when I was little, jeans we’re ONLY for hanging out. God forbid I wear jeans to church, or to a funeral, or to a wedding, my mother would rip them off of me and strangle me to death. She thought of them as tacky, and disrespectful in an elegant environment. Truth is, most of that generation had the same mindset as my mother. Many of my elders would agree and also hang me with a denim noose.

I think of all of my denim as a “genie in a bottle”. They are my go-to pairs of bottoms. If I am lazy, I throw on my jeans. If I am running to the store, I throw on my jeans. If I am hanging out in the city, I throw on my jeans. They are just so comfortable. Especially after they break in, it feels like I’m running around bottomless! (Sorry for the image).

Time and trends are respecters of no one. In the past few years, denim has grown on people. It seems as if literally over night, denim became dressy. In my teenage super rebellious years I decided to wear jeans to church. (I know, I know. I was a real rebel). But it seemed that everyone else was doing the same. People started to wear jeans with graphic tees and threw on a blazer over it. BAM! DRESSY! Men wore button downs with jeans and shoes. BAM! DRESSY! Women wore jeans, a blouse and heels. BAM! DRESSY! I didn’t start anything. Society changed together. We collectively and sub-consciously permitted denim to enter the category of “dressy”. The funny thing is, the lower and working class have been doing it since jeans we’re invented. It always seems to take forever for the upper class to catch up.

Abraham Ariel Vazquez

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When jeans first made an appearance in Western society, Levi Strauss was concerned with inventing a type of clothing that was suitable and more productive for gold miners. Initially, they were an article of clothing that was intended for workers, the lower class. As society has progressed, we see how jeans have gone from a sign of “deprivation and sweat” (87) to the “signature of an heiress” (85). They started becoming more widely worn through the early 20th century, just in a casual fashion, when people wanted to sit back and relax. They were the symbol of comfort and relaxation. However, they soon became symbolic of so much more. No longer just a fashion statement, they were a sign of rebellion. Whether it was rejecting the American standard of living or rejecting society’s ideas of women, these blue denim fabrics were a sign of hope and meaning for  many; especially the youth.

What is interesting about so many turning points in American society is how they are fueled by the younger generation. In every decade, the younger generation always has the loudest voice. The same youths that were able to turn graffiti into an expressive art form and a commentary on the state of society and media, were the same incredible minds who turned an article of clothing that was meant for the lower class into a symbol for freedom and equality. What is interesting about jeans nowadays is how fashion still managed to make them hierarchical. Prices for this piece of denim range from ten dollars to two thousand. Some may think this is an outdated topic, the impact jeans have had on society, but the fact that famous designers have stolen the freedom of jeans by stitching their labels onto the denim proves that fashion still has a say in our lives. I find myself at times buying into these fashion trends, the more expensive jeans, the dark wash jeans, the infamous “skinny jeans.” Fashion has managed to take this symbol of comfort and convince us they can be fancy too, so now I can wear my jeans to school or dress them up when going to a party. While fashion is always trying to advertise clothing that rich people will buy, the fact that jeans are so widely worn and bought proves that they are here to stay, maybe the one thing in fashion that connects every class of people.That, and leggings, which I may call the “new jeans.”

-Nour Saudi

Sit back and let the media take control? No!

I no longer want to let the invisible hands of society

be the hand that decides which step I take

which outfit i buy, or what food I eat

I want to be my own person, I want to be my own.

I am being swallowed up by the pressures of this world and

I am being spit out into the bowl of “status quo”

Well there is an escape button no one pays attention to

Media infects our vision, our hearing, our thinking

It causes us to think according to its perception

But its enemy, is its friend.

We can think on our own, we can see for ourselves, we can hear on our own.

That my friend, is how we conform no more.