One point of beat-up bluejeans is to bother good taste, which is a muscular aesthetic stance, a canny market footing and an ambiguous moral position.
Some distressed denim is beauty-marked with subtle scuffs amounting to off-duty signs. Some is lavishly slashed into canvases for abstract craft work, with a fleeciness of bare threads asymmetrically outlined by stubby blue tufts, a kind of plumage for people treating a humble fiber as a vehicle for expressing splendor. There are bluejeans serially slit up the front, space striped as if by the shadows of window blinds in a film noir, and sometimes they are sold by shop assistants wearing jeans sliced to bare hamstrings, as if everyone’s bored of the old ways of constraining the sight and shape of the body. There is a place in Paris that gathers old bluejeans as raw material for reassembled jeans that will cost $1,450 a pair. Which would be a bargain if you believed the piece worthy of framing as a collage deconstructing aperture and entropy and the tensions of a labor-class fabric reworked as universal playwear.
Troy Patterson, “On Clothing”, The New York Times Magazine (3 May 2015), 26.