Updated: July 2, 2015 12:05:26 pm
Drain pipes, cigarette pants, jeggings…the name might have undergone a change over the years but skinny jeans have remained loyal to their form-fitting design. A case study published recently in The Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry cited an incident where a 35-year-old Australian woman suffered nerve and muscle damage after wearing a super-skinny pair. The study may have put these jeans in a tight spot suggesting they can be a potential health hazard but they have long been a fashion favourite denim.
While Levi’s made the first blue (and very baggy) jean in 1873, the slimmer version (not yet skinny) was spotted much later in the 1950s. A slim-fit that hugged the thighs and tapered at the ankles was made popular by Hollywood actors such as Roy Rogers, Marlon Brando and even Marilyn Monroe. Though the boot-cut style rode a popularity wave courtesy cowboy movies, superstars such as Elvis Presley and later the Beatles traded their signature bell-bottoms for the drain pipes as their singing careers progressed. “Jeans got tighter as rock ‘n’ roll took Europe by storm in the 1970s,” says Aditya Singhal, CEO of It’s My Life Jeans Co that offers bespoke jeans. “Nearly 60 percent of our order list is for skinny jeans,” says Singhal. Do a retro rewind and you wonder whether Mick Jagger’s swagger would have been complete without his tight trousers or for that matter can you imagine Michael Jackson doing the moonwalk in a pair of baggy low-rise?
The highlight in the history of the skinny jeans was when the punk rock movement got into full swing. Bands such as The Sex Pistols and The Ramones zipped up slim-fits and gave them a punk spin with acidic washes and ripped knees. Music bands played up the trend in the ’90s, as did fashion models in centre-spread shoots in glossy magazines. Remember Kate Moss who practically lived in them? “Denim itself underwent a makeover. From tight and coarse, it went softer with the ability to stretch. Instead of being uncomfortable, it wore well and was not restricted to a particular body type,” says designer Kavita Bhartia, who has featured printed skinny jeans in her collections in the past. On what makes them a must-have in a woman’s closet, Bhartia says, “These days, everyone works out and like to flaunt their shape. What better than skinny jeans to do that?”
For all the bad press that the jeans have got, the style remains a best-seller on the shelves. Actor-turned-entrepreneur Shilpa Shetty has launched her own line of slim-fit jeans and jeggings and just six weeks after giving birth to her second child, Kate Middleton is back in her favourite pair. “There are new styles that are launched every season but skinny jeans are always there,” says Neha Shah, Senior Marketing Manager at Pepe Jeans. “Nearly 70 percent of the sales, especially in women’s wear come from skinny jeans. There is a demand for skinny jeans with varying waist styles and there is an increase in popularity in men too. We have launched a separate line of skinnies for men,” says Shah, who suggests that one should wear the right size to avoid feeling uncomfortable or going weak in the knees.
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