It could be argued that denim is the ultimate classic. It’s never gone away, and it probably never will. In fact, it may be cutting into the reign of athleisure. But that doesn’t mean it’s immune to trends. From workwear staple in the ‘30s to acid washed and designer-labeled in the ‘80s to dad-styled in the ‘90s, jeans have served a multitude of stylistic and functional purposes. Though we demand new styles, we always come back to the well-worn reliability of denim to make us feel cool. Currently, it’s all about reworked vintage styles that are making some of the past’s staples feel fresh again.
Since, in a way, it all started in 1873 with Jacob W. Davis and Levi Strauss’ patent on blue jeans, we figured what better phenomenon to take the pulse of denim trends than the most extreme example of reworked denim: Vetements’ zipper-centric reimagining of the most classic jeans brand on the planet. Here, Senior Designer Ekin Kalayci explains how she took them for a spin on a recent Instagram shoot and unexpectedly fell in love, while her boss, Senior Director of Marketing Communications Nancy Alonzo, lays out why they’re perfectly loathable.
Ekin: I saw these everywhere for a while and they looked super weird, but once I was at the shoot and put them on, they felt really nice.
Nancy: Those are just not flattering on anybody. (Sees image from shoot) Ok, wait they’re flattering on you. But the extra patch material on the butt is just not good. It just looks uncomfortable. Is it?
E: They are actually comfy. I’m for them. If I had $1,000 to spare.
N: I’m against them. For a multitude of functional reasons. What’s loathable about them is the zipper through the crotch. There are just too many zippers for me to get behind this. No pun intended. If you’re somebody who wants to be on the very tip of the trend, go for it.
E: They don’t look so weird when you wear them, I think. We usually get a lot of looks on the street when out for Insta shoots, and that didn’t happen with these. But a lot of people did comment on our Insta post. Even my sister texted me, like ‘I don’t know about those jeans…’
N: They couldn’t look any better on you, so that’s as good as they’re going to look on anybody. So if you don’t like them here, then you really don’t like these.
E: I liked how they felt. Once you put them on you’re kind of like, ohhh. The coldness of the zippers on your legs feels nice.
N: People seem to be pretty split, so to speak. You’re not going to feel apathetic about them. You either love them and think they’re amazing or you can’t understand them like me.
E: Maybe that’s what made them interesting for me. As a person who lives in no-comment-worthy jeans, I liked the controversy. It made them exciting to wear. I wear jeans, I think literally every single day, and this just felt like I was wearing something else that’s not even jeans.
N: I do love the re-imagination of Levi’s. It’s so interesting to think about how to use denim in a new way, and Vetements does that really well, but I don’t think every single time is a home run. $1,000 might be a little much.
E: But I think the success of these brands now is that they’re not afraid to create horrible things and make mistakes. Nothing is perfect and that almost IS the point.People are creating it and wearing it ironically in a sense.
N: Yeah, I get that, but you can wear it ironically because you didn’t live through that decade. It’s dangerously close to really, really bad jean trends from the ‘80s. Which is part of the reason why I could never wear those.
E: I feel like wearing these in San Francisco, it would be tough. Everyone is so into the no-style look that these would be OUTRAGEOUS even though when I actually wore them, in 5 minutes I was like, huh… why not?
N: I don’t think they’re sitting jeans. They may be strutting jeans. The zipper from the navel to the tailbone fully rolling around and underneath, just seems like something you wouldn’t want to sit in.
E: Nancy you just need to make yourself try them.
N: One thing I can say for sure is I never would put those on. I would roll right past those.
E: It just depends on how you style it and how you move in it. When you look at the runway images, I really think these jeans look classy even! No exaggeration. Totally modest and cool. Of course the unzipped butt is a completely different photo.
N:I just don’t think you need a zipper in that region. There’s always a new way to reinvent denim, and it’s nice to see that it’s with Levi’s, an American brand. I got rid of, sadly, a lot of Levi’s in the ‘90s and now they’re hot again.
E: I just think it makes people imagine things — but when you think about it a button-down shirt is no different. Oooh the front could open any time…
Did you end up on team love? Score your own pair of Vetements X Levi’s here.