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In Defense of Destroyed Denim

Why it's worth reconsidering the out-there trend.

Earlier this summer, we ran an article about the "worst trend of the summer," seriously ripped jeans. As a destroyed denim addict, I couldn't believe someone (hi, Alyssa) thought that pants that showed off both your thighs and calves via one rip was a terrible style choice. I mean, I've spent years yearning for the spring 2012 Marques'Almeida jeans (pictured at left) that probably served as inspiration for the jeans Alyssa tried out

After weeks of brooding over severely distressed denim's place in the market (and wondering if I am truly crazy for loving such out-there styles), I've come to realize that the problem with destroyed denim isn't that it's gone to wild or insane extremes – it's that it's an avant-garde trend that's taken on a mainstream following. (And just to be clear, I'm talking about denim items that are cut, ripped and torn on an extreme level, not boyfriend jeans sold with pre-existing rips or tops with frayed edges.)

Just like beanies with tulle veils before it, seriously distressed denim is a trend that originated on the runway, but due to the inexpensiveness of the materials (and the easiness of DIYing the trend at home), was introduced into the mainstream. And just like beanies, jeans are something that people wear all the time in dozens of different situations. With retailers making a serious push on denim products this fall, and denim becoming a more widely used fabric (you can buy everything from a cocktail dress to an evening clutch in the material), it makes sense that thigh-exposing jeans and torn-up denim jackets would be replicated from the runway and stocked in stores. And again, just like beanies with tulle veils attached, the prevalence of cut-up and cut-out jeans can spark an eye roll reaction from fashion folks. 

But imagine if suddenly the next big trend that trickled down to the mainstream from the runway was hula hoop-skirted Comme des Garcons-inspired dresses. Do you think you'd hate it? Or would you just hate that it was being appropriated by mass culture?

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So as a denim fan, I'm making a personal plea for people to reconsider the wild bounds that distressed denim is going exploring. The more creative people get with their interpretations of runway fashion, the better.