Time for me to clear out a couple of bookmarked web items from my browser. And I’m doing so with one hand holding my nose, because earlier this spring I bookmarked articles from The Independent and Teen Vogue about the same fashion item. I’m hesitant to call it “fashion” as I’m not sure if this was just a case of someone pulling a late April Fools joke on the world.
What am I talking about exactly? Well, three years ago I talked about a trend in denim called “distressed jeans.” Basically, fashion brands and retailers made and marketed jeans that had intentional wears and tears in them. These weren’t the still-very-comfortable-but-faded jeans in your closet. Rather, these were jeans with tears, strains, bleached spots, and other on-purpose distresses that were put on sale for more than they looked like they were worth. Yeah, you were able to go to an American Eagle or an H&M and plunk down large coin ($65 or so) and take home something you probably could have found for a lot, lot less at a Goodwill or St. Vincent de Paul, where the distresses in the jeans they sold were real because, well, someone else lived in them for a long period of time.
This spring, however, an actual fashion company went well beyond “distressed jeans.” I mean, way, way beyond distressed. How far? Well, be forewarned because this image isn’t pretty.
Sorry I made you lose your breakfast, but this is indeed the real deal. The company is Carmar Denim, based out of Los Angeles, and this spring they began selling these… well, let Carmar themselves describe them for you:
EXTREME CUT OUT JEAN
Extreme Cut Out Pant is a high rise pant with large statement cutouts on front and back.
Okay, how the hell is this happening? Seriously, I’m asking. Oh, okay, I’ll make my own guess, Drunk History style: I’m betting someone at Carmar was looking at their collections in their warehouse and on their website. And they were probably, justifiably proud of their skirts and jackets and cargos and shorts and premium denim including uh, actual jeans (truly distressed and shredded jeans especially). But they were thinking, “You know, we gotta create something that will really give us attention.”
And while tooling around the internet, that someone at Carmar probably saw photos of 2017 fashion trends and saw, say, photos from Tokyo Fashion Week. And what did they see? Photos from a show by a designer named Thibaut that featured jeans with whole panels removed, front and back, leaving only the seams and the fly and the waist. With the only thing keeping the model’s shortcomings from being, uh, publicized is a skin-colored leotard. Oh, and make the backside tight like a thong.
And after seeing these photos from Tokyo, that same someone at Carmar thought, “Yeah, we can do that too.” And then they ran it up the flagpole to see if the Carmar brass would salute. And the Carmar brass wound up saying, “Yes! We must do this! But add big front pockets!” And with that, Carmar started making these “extreme cut out jeans” with the inside and outside seams and the big pockets.
And then around the end of April or beginning of May, Carmar started selling these “extreme cut out jeans” on their website for the reasonable(?!) price of… wait for it… $168. And, of course, let the world know through social media word of mouth (Instagram especially), the belief that even if the rest of the world (the fashion critics especially) are baffled by the existence of these “jeans” and think they’re some synonym of disgusting… well, hey, bad publicity is better than no publicity at all, right?
Well, guess what? Carmar Denim sold out their first production wave of these things! And the demand was so strong that a wait list was set up.
A wait list?! For these rickety looking things?! I mean, look at that above picture again (though make sure you haven’t had dinner yet when doing so). They look as if they’re leg braces (apologies for the analogy). They look like they’re a skeleton (I’m talking a skeleton and not something on a skeleton). They look as if someone went a little too wild with the “distressed denim” approach that they said “eh, to heck with it” and cut out whole panels. They look as if they wanted to use every single centimeter of denim that they had in the warehouse.
And, for sure, they do not look like they should cost $168. More like $1.68, am I right?
Who to blame for this? Well, since Carmar makes these and probably promoted the hell out of them (because, again, any kind of publicity is better than none), they do bear responsibility for this. And you could blame the news organizations of the world for giving this “trend” too much air and not covering, say, what’s going on in Washington. And you could blame Thibaut for showcasing these before a helpless world last fall. And you could blame Kendall Jenner. Yep, one of the Kardashian brood was spotted in Spring 2017 paring these “jeans” with something much more modest (an oversized shirt) and looking… well, somewhat presentable. (And, really, should anyone be surprised that a Kardashian would jump on any sort of a fashion trend?)
Still, just because someone influential was spotted wearing these… and just because a company like Carmar can make these… and just because Carmar can get a boatload of money and attention as a result doesn’t justify the fact that these cut-out jeans are the textbook definition of a fashion don’t! A more sane portion of the world recognizes it, and hopefully it will mean that these won’t be the big fashion trend of the summer, overpriced wait list or not.
But, hey, since we all need something to cleanse our pallets of this atrociousness, let’s highlight something much more fashionable by those same offenders at Carmar Denim. When looking up Carmar online, I also noticed their name associated with a much better trend, “wax jeans.” Take some stretch denim, add a touch of elastic and spandex, coat the front with wax, and you’ve got a look that isn’t exactly fashionable leather but is analogous to that evergreen trend. Carmar’s website has this pair of wax robin jeans on “final sale” at just $48. And whereas those cut-out jeans make you want to gouge your eyes out, these will catch every eye anywhere.