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Women embrace 'ripped jeans' online: a little history behind the distressed fashion trend

Mar 19, 2021 14:23 IST | By Vishakha Somani

It seems like for Uttarakhand's CM Tirath Singh Rawat, a woman's dignity is positioned on her bare knees. The new CM said women who wear ripped jeans set a ‘bad example.’ Understandably his comments caused a stir on social media, pushing women to post pictures of themselves wearing the 'ripped jeans' look in an act of defiance.

What Rawat has termed them 'kaichi wala sanskar', ripped jeans are actually a fashion trend with a pretty interesting history. As many, including celebrities like Gul Panag, Koena Mitra and Big B's granddaughter Navya Nanda flaunt their ripped denims online, here's a little background on how exactly the trend came to be.

While the first denim jeans were developed at Levi Strauss' factories in the 1800s as durable long-lasting trousers that were also comfortable for working-class men. 

The distressed, dishevelled jeans that we see the youth wear today wasn't popular, or should we say 'fashionable', until around the 1970s. While denim jeans were born with a utilitarian purpose, the ripped look as a fashion statement was popularised during the punk rock era in Britain. 

In a period of cultural angst and youthful rebellion, British punk rock bands like the Sex Pistols and Nirvana memorialised grungy denim look by wearing them on and off stage.

During this period, ripped denims, distressed jackets and torn t-shirts came to symbolise a way to express your individuality and tearing up clothing almost became a way to express your anti-establishment feelings.

Soon enough, the style made it's way to high-fashion runways in North America and while the initial response was mixed and perhaps continues to remain mixed in Indian households.

By the 1990s, the ripped jeans look was all over the place and it undeniably continues to retain its image as a fashionable look for everyone from celebrities to the masses.

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