I'd wager that you, as a "menswear guy", were probably introduced to raw selvedge denim sometime in 2008 or 2009 and it’s not that ridiculous to say that it transformed your taste forever. It’s rigid restrictions—both literal and figurative—were a sort of purification, a necessary back-to-basics extreme in order to rid the body of pre-distressed, bootcut toxins. Straight or slim fit raw denim not only presented a sense of cleanliness and minimalism, but the warm, cozy feeling of "remember when?" Americana nostalgia. Coming from the preset consumer mindset of comfort above all else, the sheer physicality of raw denim was a challenge, a journey even. Sure, most men will initially scoff at the idea of not washing their jeans for 6 months, but we were brave and gave it a shot, subsequently relishing in the sense of superiority that came along with it. I know more about denim than you do. I have better jeans than you do. I am a better person than you.
Fast forward a few years and the fades on our New Standards were deep, the blown-out crotch repaired twice. It was only a matter of time before our natural predilection of wanting something new, something exciting, something different started to rear its head. Yet, the idea of starting all over again—another long term commitment—seemed ridiculous.
As it turns out, an entire world of new and diverse pants were just waiting to be discovered and tapped for their potential. The only question left was: which extreme to take? The black, sometimes leather, sometimes waxed? Or what about the washed, traditional rises of our fathers? Each offered relief from the limitations of indigo and, most importantly, returned our collective sense of superiority that had gone missing long ago inside a pile of $88 selvedge at GAP.
While merely a matter of (expert) opinion, it's seems likely that a return to ripped, pre-distressed denim awaits because—really though—where else is there to go?
Through it all, we're still here, wearing pants that are likely jeans. Regardless of what you're currently placing into your armoire, know that as trends and aesthetics become more extreme in menswear, their longevity becomes less and less likely. This principle is the sole driving force behind “fast-fashion”. If you constantly re-write the script, you always give people something new to read. But we like to write and you like to read, so what's next? While merely a matter of (expert) opinion, it's seems likely that a return to ripped, pre-distressed denim awaits because—really though—where else is there to go? And knowing us, we have to go somewhere.
Above the law labels like RRL have been making their own versions for years, but their straight-legged offerings often seem more like cowboy costumes than a legitimate option for the stylish man. Yet, they too are not impervious to trends and have in recent seasons begun to offer more and more distressed options in slim-fit varieties. And, just to be crystal clear, bootcut jeans are not coming back. Never say never, but, like, really, fucking never. Actually, Simon Miller’s recent collaboration with Bergdorf Goodman seem like a fitting homage to our Abercrombie'd past, a symbol of just how far we’ve come and how much we’ve learned—it's much easier to survey the past when you're furthest away. And maybe, just maybe, some of us will even wander back into the arms of those initial A.P.C.'s. Hopefully your ol’ reliables are there waiting for you, ready for their second life in this new, fast-paced world of men’s denim.