Cut up jeans – Trendy or tragic?

We see them everywhere.

Men and women in jeans that have more tears or holes than when a dog gets hold of clothes off the wash line!

For some it is fashionable, others find clothing with jagged holes off-putting and ridiculous, stating that there’s nothing hip about them.

Most people do not realise how far back in time jeans actually go. Made from denim or dungaree cloth, they were invented by Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss in 1873. It got its name from the city of Genoa in Italy, a place where cotton corduroy called ‘jeane’ was manufactured.

1873, the birth of the Jeans by Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis (Source:bolidster.com)

Levi Strauss came from Germany to New York in 1851 to join his older brother who had a dry goods store and shortly thereafter started selling tents, blankets and covers to miners. He soon realised there was a market for clothing that was strong and durable and the jeans pant was invented soon after.

Figure from US Patent No. 139,121 (Source: levistrauss.com)


Jeans have stood the test of time culturally for the last 140 years, moving from being working clothes, then prison uniforms in some European countries to symbols of disobedience and protest to being fashion items. By the 1980s ‘stone’ and ‘acid wash’ jeans were all the rage, especially among teenagers with all the teen idols and pop stars being seen in these outfits that covered not just pants but tops and oversized jackets as well.

70s acid wash jeans (nostalgiacentral.com)

Punk rockers like Bret Michaels then took it a step further and tore their jeans at the knees hence it became cool to sport torn or cut up jeans with the accompanying bandana.

Punk rocker Bret Michaels sporting his signature ripped jeans and bandana

Now fast forward to the new millennium and the jeans being sold seem to have even more holes and rips. It has also been given an official name as it is not just styled ‘ripped’ jeans but ‘distressed jeans’ (which is kind of appropriate when you think about it) as they say there is a process that they put the jeans through to get that desired look.

Distressed Jeans

There was one popular brand on the hanger that had almost no material at all that could be considered covering. The only area that did not have a hole was the actual white pockets. Talk about extreme.

Carmar’s $223 ‘extreme cut out jeans’ (Source:news.com.au)

Some people wear it just about anywhere, to the mall, grocery shopping, the movies, even to Church mass. Like them or not, when you talk about versatility you are talking about jeans.

How far will you go with your ripped jeans?