Dylan Jones: Distressed denim is back – from the bus stops on the Edgware Road to the gastropubs of Soho

Talk of the Town

Share
Related Topics

I remember my first adult recession as though it was yesterday. It was the dawn of the Eighties, and revolution was in the air. Like a lot of young people at the time, I naturally assumed that the problem was of someone else’s making. But – like most of my friends – I embraced the entrepreneurial spirit of the times, and got to work. We were loath to call it Thatcherite but in hindsight it couldn’t really have been anything else. We formed bands, started nightclubs, designed clothes, cobbled together magazines in east-London warehouses. We were accused of fiddling while Brixton and Toxteth burned, but what we were actually doing was laying the cultural foundations of the decade ahead.

I went from being a cocktail barman to a photographer to a journalist in the space of about three months – and, like everyone else I knew, never looked back. We liked to think our lives were built around constant reinvention, which manifested itself in the way we dressed and in what we listened to, as well as how we voted and who we shouted at on TV. We went to ad-hoc clubs in difficult urban postcodes, danced to records that displayed the requisite mix of contemporary funk and bottom-heavy agitprop, and camouflaged ourselves in the appropriate battledress. And the look? Hard Times chic, with heavily torn and distressed denim, to reflect our impoverished lives – a pair of ripped Levi’s, a studded belt, a pair of cheap black Chinese slippers, a wife-beater (aka a plain white vest) and a bottle of Pils in each hand. I looked this way for about 18 months, until my clothes literally fell apart, and it was time to move on.

But now I see that distressed denim is back – everywhere from the bus stops on the Edgware Road to the gastro-pubs of Soho – in something of a major way. Although this time around the look has been diffused by fashion, and what was once the badge of the insolvent few is now the uniform of the not-quite-so disenfranchised many.

Honestly, these days, if you want to look properly impoverished then the only thing to do is dress like a banker.

Dylan Jones is the editor of GQ

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Order Processor

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This European market leader for security...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Graphic Designer

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Mechanical and Electrical Engineer

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of refrig...

Recruitment Genius: Concierge and Porter

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a customer focused, pro...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: The five reasons why I vote

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
 

Daily catch-up: the gap between rich and poor has narrowed (a little) since the banking crisis

John Rentoul
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot