blue jean baby [back]
Indigo denim pants, or blue pants as they're more commonly known, are the epitome of iconographic garments. Historically they have symbolized a sexualized masculine rebellion from the class warfare of 19th century western miners, farmers and ranch hands, to the teenage rebellion of the 50's embodied by western fashion icon, James Dean. While in popular culture they are seen as symbol of western class struggle, their production has always been classically oppressive, meaning in every denim related labor struggle from the 30's to the 90's the state's militia was used to kill union organizers and suppress economic democracy. As well, even the association of indigo denim with the American West is a reflection of American eurocentrism, as it ignores the original origins of the garment, which was with sailors in India, not white capitalists, surprise, surprise.
These days, the message of the indigo denim pants is worse. It has become a symbol of casual homogeneity, American nationalism, and middle class values of simplicity and conformity. Indigo denim has become almost invisible it is so common. Far from being a garment that conveys class consciousness, it has become everything from a businessman's attempt to be "hip" to $300 pre- worn biking culottes with stickers that warn that the rips present when you buy them will become worse over time though you can "repair as you wish for a more vintage and personal look."
By using recycled indigo denim as fetish gear and as an outfit for erotic dancing, we at the Free Boutique celebrate the radical sexualization of the working class, while undermining the nascent conformity of indigo denim as the benchmark of the status quo.
model: israel oka/ stylist & designer: adam tinnell/ photos: kate kershenstein