Summary: When Levi’s decided to give the rugged work-wear called denim a fashion spin some decades ago, little did the brand know that they were ushering in a fashion revolution. Its moment of glory arrived in the '90s when luxury brands such as Gucci and Armani laid eyes on the fabric. Even today, this evergreen fashion element is an essential part of everyone’s wardrobe. With a slight tweak here and there, denim keeps appearing on the runway, cutting across age groups.
Any keen follower of fashion trends would have noticed that denim is ruling the ramp, yet again. The baggy, high-rise jean staple of '90s fashion has made a comeback and is decidedly here to stay. Brands can boldly roll out their denim collection in '90 vintage flavors as nostalgia is expected to rule for some time, given the trend hinted at by denim majors Levi's and Diesel.
The early aught-inspired denim jeans were a relaxed pair. Often slouchy and having an I-don't-care-less attitude, the designs reflected the youth and restlessness of the decade. Now when we are witnessing a rebound of '90s denim outfits, let’s flip through some of the trends that swayed the Y2K generation.
It was not rare to spot celebrities in the denim-on-denim ensemble at premier events in the '90s. The trend all but faded into oblivion till recent years. Today, when anything retro is in vogue, head-to-toe blue denim is a classic option. In their new collections though, designers are mindful of keeping it subdued, doing away with the outrageous elements.
High-waist baggy jeans sit lightly on the waist giving a sense of breathability to the wearer. The high-waist baggy jeans were so flattering and comfortable that it is no surprise designers conspired for its comeback. The recent version of baggy jeans has been simplified with a slightly slimmer cut, sustainable vintage washes, and softer touch.
The plunging waistlines in jeans have always been controversial. How low was really low? It remained undecided in the '90s and even now when it has again been dug out by designers for the skimming trouser look at fashion fairs.
The denim jackets that become popular with folks on ramps and streets alike, never really go out of flavor. In the '90s denim outfits, the range was wide from the short-cropped ones to the real grunge look. The present fashion trend favors oversized ones and worn-in looks, best perfected through sustainable practices. Jean jackets with color-blocking and vintage looks can make any denim collection stand out.
The ‘90s denim jeans had the focus on wide-leg style and long inseam with a puddle at the ankle to make that little girl look tall. For more dramatic fits, darker wash and longer seams did the trick. The bell-bottom flare is now shaped in different ways including patches and extra wide flares. Fashion houses can let loose their imagination here for next year's trend as well.
Boyfriend jeans have indeed been a woman’s best friend ever since they appeared in the '90s. A pair that usually fitted at the hips and in the seats with a relaxed cut through the legs have never left the closet. An all-weather friend, its return is good news for brands that have re-invented it in a softer, stretchable avatar.
The ripped-off jeans can be bought off the shelves now. However, the '90s generation had to make some effort with scissors, pins, and needles to give denim a distressed look. Those planning for next year's collection can safely bet on destroyed denim.
Who can forget the dungarees made famous by Jennifer Aniston’s character in the TV sitcom Friends? The casual, functional carpenter's dress is a hit with kids and youngsters. M&S has come out with a range of dungarees with loads of pockets for the young.
The mom jeans in a light wash, waist high, and the relaxed fit were carried with aplomb by supermodels such as Kate Moss. Just remember the original iconic Levi's 501 is still going strong and is serving as an inspiration for other brands who have come out with their own variations.
The environment would frown upon acid-washed jeans, but the punk fashion brigade back in the '90s would look down upon any denim that was not heavily acid-washed. On the bright side, new technologies have emerged that can give the toned look without much use of chemicals. Jeanologia machines, deployed by DL1961, give washed variation by using laser and air, saving water in the process.
The denim maxi skirt is on a comeback trail too. Designers have been playing with silhouettes and adding embellishments, embroideries, and applique to give it a contemporary feel. The range is wide from skirts that give an impression of being made from old jeans to split ones with straight lines.
From the experimental side of 90s denim outfits, there were patches of denim dyed in different hues of blue to lend drama to a pair of jeans or a skirt. Today, when apparel makers are being urged to go green, a patchwork collection of repurposed denim would be the preferred choice to resurrect this hippyish denim trend.
It was not uncommon for folks to cut a pair of jeans for using it as shorts in summer or giving it a new life as a bag. Now, recycling has a different meaning altogether. H&M used leftover fabrics to stitch a new collection of denim last year, of course, inspired by 90s fashion.
They say fashion has its cycle. For now, denim seems to have achieved timelessness given the durability and comfort factor. It's the basic style with an edge that is being lapped up by today's generation. But the brands need to curb waste and adopt more sustainable and ethical practices in production. The quest for "greener" denim is the new race to win the market.
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