Tattered


Can you help me understand this?

March 1, 2018

These are called premium jeans, and sell for $60. This is an amount triple what I have ever paid, for new jeans that look new. I keep them a long time. Never have any yet reached this stage of disrepair. Some have been ruined (enhanced?) with paint. But they go on and on.

What is going on here? After years of considering it, I still do not know.

If you went to a new car dealership, would you be happy about paying a premium for this, sold as new?

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Photo by Matthew Smith on Unsplash

Or a full set of these at the kitchen store?

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Or next time you need a dozen eggs, you bring this home from the local supermarket?

Imagine going to the furniture store and paying the highest new prices, to have a set of these to use at home.

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Help me understand the desire to buy something already worn out.

Is it a desire for instant authenticity? It is simply because badly used jeans are cool and we don’t have the desire to do our own wearing, over time? Maybe it’s part of our instantaneous culture. We can’t afford the time to wear anything out.

Are we so dependent on clothing designers in New York, London, or Paris that we take their word for what is stylish? What gives them the authority?

How about buying pencils at Walmart already half ground away by a sharpener? A new smartphone with a cracked screen?

How about buying these off the shelf at Home Depot?

Maybe looks have surpassed function and longevity. I admit I like these colors. These brushes, though, would not come to my home for any upcoming repaint project.

My wife and I meet in a home group bi-weekly with several young adult friends. I broached the subject, figuring their generation would have a better idea.

They did not. And none of them have purchased new/old clothes.

One of my friends, Dave, surmised that it might be a way in the buyer’s mind to gain some street cred. That sounded as reasonable an explanation as any.


From the Urban Dictionary:

street cred

“Commanding a level of respect in an urban environment due to experience in or knowledge of issues affecting those environments.

‘He’s been thru it all. His street cred is undeniable.'”

From Collins Dictionary:

“If someone says that you have street cred, they mean that ordinary young people would approve of you and consider you to be part of their culture, usually because you share their sense of fashion or their views.”


The reason to buy tattered jeans is probably more closely associated with the second definition. We want to look like we have lived in these jeans a long time, and can’t or don’t want to part with the money to replace them. If this is the real reason, it’s disingenuous, because you paid a premium price for the instant old look, and everybody knows it.

One question this raises for me is: why is it more important to have credibility in an urban environment than in a rural one?

Speaking of such: Tara, in our home group, said she has seen you can buy worn out jeans with mud already in the fabric. Wait, what?! That would be more fitting for the rural environment, I guess.

I checked it out. You sure can. Nordstrom’s has them for only $425. So to look like an instant ranch hand, it will set you back only $425 greenbacks.

Now if I could only find brand new spaghetti sauce-stained shirts, I’d be a complete human being.

Are we so given to superficiality? Or is there something else going on? Is this a deep cry for attention? That is believable, isn’t it? Do we despise things that look good in themselves? Do we despise order?

We love image. Look around you. We put out image, maybe not even knowing why. We want acceptance and look for it in the strangest places.

Can you give me other possibilities of explanation for this cultural trend?

 

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