The Things We Do to Our Clothes for Fashion’s Sake


There was a time back in the 70s when all the cool kids wore cutoff jeans. What were cutoffs? They were shorts made by DIYers who took their jeans and cut off the legs at mid-thigh. Then they threw them in the wash for half-a-dozen cycles to purposely fray the bare threads. The things we do to our clothes for fashion’s sake…

Ironically, the teenagers of this writer’s generation used to go out and spend a lot of money on designer jeans just to turn them into cutoffs. It always seemed strange to me. Why not just wear a pair of jeans until they get old and ratty, then cut the legs off? But what do I know? I am not a fashion maven by any stretch. All I know about clothing is how to wear it.

                1990s Buckshot Jeans

Today’s young people have a love affair with jeans that come from the store with built-in rips and tears. They think they are onto something new; they have no idea. Way back when, we used to call them buckshot jeans.

Buckshot jeans were a product of the early 1990s. Clothing manufacturers would make their blue jeans as normal. Then they would have them sent out to the shooting range where they would be distressed by someone armed with a buckshot-loaded rifle. A few blasts later, the jeans were ready for retail racks.

Jeans were not the only thing being shot through prior to retail sale. So were denim jackets, shirts, and handbags. Anything made of denim was up for grabs. For some reason, consumers thought it was a good thing to buy denim littered with buckshot holes.

                1960s Tie-Dye

Buckshot jeans were not Western civilization’s first foray into purposely distressed clothing. Back in the 1960s and 70s, tie-dyed shirts were all the rage. Plenty of people still wear them today. They are a symbol of the counterculture as well as a means of customizing your own look anyway you like.

The remarkable thing about tie-dying is that it is so easy to do. All you need is a T-shirt, a couple of rubber bands, and some dye. You can create a completely unique look in a matter of minutes.

                Bleach Distressing in 2021

So what’s the hot trend these days? Bleach distressing. It is similar to tie-dying in the sense that you are altering the look of your clothing by changing the color. But instead of adding color, bleach distressing takes color away.

Have you ever accidentally spilled bleach on a piece of clothing, only to discover a white spot left in its wake? Bleach does that. Well, it turns out that bleach distressing is the practice of purposely applying bleach to your clothing in order to achieve the effect on a wider scale.

                Trends Come and Go

The good folks at The Stockist Utah clothing boutique, are not surprised by the bleach distressing trend. They explain that trends come and go in response to the whims of consumers. One person sees a bleach distressed shirt and everyone else suddenly wants one. But bleach distressing is likely to go the way of buckshot jeans and tie-dye. A few clingers will hold on, but the rest of us will eventually move on.

Upon closer inspection, the entire fashion industry seems to be built on trends. After all, good quality clothing will last years. But wearing the same clothes for so long defies industry goals. So in order to convince you to buy, trends need to change regularly. It is all part of the process.

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