Statement through Jeans

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The popular consumption of the blue jeans presents a form of global capitalism. The mass endorsement for the commodity signifies the Americanization of and cultural conformity and casual attitudes towards life. The agility of denim fabric and variation in styles encourage statements of individuality simply through apparels. Wearing jeans becomes so ubiquitous and normalized in society that it easily goes unnoticed by actors as an unconscious action, thus perpetuating the profile of jeans as a most ordinary myopia of life. It has become a status symbol for the mass middle class which serves as a venue for shaping and demonstrating the wearers’ identities.

Jeans also serve as a temporal marker given its permeating into ordinary life of the public. Wearing jeans on different occasions and during different times in life trajectory, as a personal narrative of the relationship of the self to society. Despite denim as the medium for bodily expression, people are involved in the “ambivalence of engaging in fashion”, according to Simmel, especially when people want to be unrecognizable from the public. In the interviews done by Miller in London, respondents reported the frequency of wearing various jeans in response to changes in their life.

 

Miller and Woodward. (2012). Blue Jeans: the art of the ordinary. Berkeley: University of California Press.

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