Gender and Fashion
I have chosen to discuss the iconic skinny jeans, one of the most widely worn garments today. Worn by both the male and female sex’s in today society.
The Skinny Jeans Development
Skinny Jeans is not actually the correct name for these pants; it is a modern day slang name for what were once called slim-fit pants. This garment was designed in the 1800’s by Levi Strauss along with other jean cut styles such as roomy.
Slim-fits were reintroduced in the 1950’s by Levi, and took full flight in their fashion iconism through the countercultures and beatnik generation. In following years they became key features of both the rock and punk fashion scene. Hype faded in the 90’s for the trend, but it came back even stronger in new millennium in retaliation to the baggy jean trend of the 90’s. This is when slim-fits became known as the modernised skinny Jeans. In recent years skinnies have been developed further and designed in more flattering figure shapes for the individual and in a diverse range of colours, textures and patterns.
How is this item gendered?
‘Jeans came about by chance, when an American pioneer in search of a strong pair of trousers happened to meet an immigrant…to make his fortune.’
Jeans were created for labour work. They were designed with the American miner, cattle herder and rail tracks layer in mind. All of which were male based society jobs at the time.
It wasn’t until World War I and more so in World War II that women began to wear this durable piece of clothing designed nearly 100 years earlier.
Since then this garment has become a unisex piece of attire.
The fashion edge to this garment wasn’t fully explored or introduced until the 1950’s when Levi chose to modernize the garment to suit the developing subculture trends at this time.
Is this the same in all countries?
America is where the trend truly began and in the following years during the 1950’s, the garments interest was carried across to European countries through the use of film, music and television.
This in turn embedded skinnies (slim-fit) worldwide in the fashion industry, where they remain today.
Designers who may have challenged the items original gender convention?
The brand that created the skinny (slim-fit) as always been its developer.
The Levi brand under the leadership of Walter Haas Jr., Peter Haas, Ed Combs, and Mel Bacharach, challenged the skinny jeans original image. In particular during the 1950’s, 1960’s and the 1970’s, with developments such as white wash jeans.
What does it mean to be ‘feminine’ or ‘masculine’ in our contemporary culture?
The differentiation between feminine and masculine in our contemporary culture has in my opinion become entirely perceptional. What one person sees as feminine, another sees as masculine, the gender perception is all about your own perspective. If you see something as feminine, then it is and vice versa because gender today is based on the individual’s opinion. What used to be by a definition defined by the majority is now being redefined by the minority.
Has the meaning changed?
The meaning has changed drastically since we as people decided to create these divisions.
For example blue was originally for girls and pink for boys as babies, but today pink is for girls and blue for boys. Gender in this respect has done a complete 360 turn around.
In my opinion gender will always have basic ideas, but will never stop diversifying, because the perception of gender develops as people’s individual opinions develop.
MENDES, V. & DE LA HAYE (1999) Twentieth Century Fashion. London, Thames &
DAMME VAN, R. (1995) JEANS, The Stuff of American history. London: Viking.
PAULA COCOZZA (2013) Skinny jeans: the fashion trend that refuses to die. The Gaurdian [Online]. Available from: http://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2013/jan/09/skinny-jeans-fashion-trend-refuses-to-die [Accessed 6/11/13]
SKINNYJEANSME (2010) Skinny Jeans History [Online]. Available from: http://skinnyjeansme.wordpress.com/skinny-jeans-history/ [Accessed 6/11/13]
WIKIPEDIA (2013) Slim-fit Pants [Online]. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slim-fit_pants [Accessed 6/11/13]
Fig.1 OVERTHERAINBOWLTD (2013) Art of Denim: Histiry of Skinny Jeans [Online image]. Available From: http://insiderainbow.com/art-of-denim-history-of-skinny-jeans/ [Accessed 7/11/13].
Fig.2 PRIYA408 (2011) History of Levi Jeans/Levi Strauss Picture [Online image]. Available From: http://priya408.wordpress.com/day-2-history-of-levis-jeans/ [Accessed 7/11/13].
Fig.3 WIKIPEDIA (2013) Slim-fit Pants Picture 1 [Online image]. Available From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slim-fit_pants [Accessed 7/11/13].
Fig.4 WIKIPEDIA (2013) Slim-fit Pants Picture 2 [Online image]. Available From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slim-fit_pants [Accessed 7/11/13].
Fig.5 SKINNYJEANSME (2010) Skinny Jeans History [Online image]. Available From: http://skinnyjeansme.wordpress.com/skinny-jeans-history/ [Accessed 7/11/13].
Fig.6 THEGAURDIAN (2011) The fashion fixers: our advice for jeans [Online image]. Available From: http://www.theguardian.com/fashion/fashion-blog/2011/aug/26/fashion-fixers-advice-jeans [Accessed 7/11/13].