The last thing Uttarakhand chief minister Tirath Singh Rawat had in mind when he made the infamous "ripped jeans" remark was a revival of a fashion trend. But his disapproving comments about some unnamed woman who runs an NGO and wears such clothes has backfired into a Twitter trend.
On 16 March, Rawat had made it his business, like many other men, to criticise a sartorial choice—the wearing of ripped jeans—especially by women. He called it "kyanchi se sanskaar (culture by scissors)", implying that such a style statement is an aberration for "Indian culture".
To be fair, ripped jeans are far from recent imports into India's fashion industry. The style itself came up in the 1970s, mostly in the US, popularised by the punk generation. The torn fabric was meant to express frustration and anger towards the bourgeois status quo. (In that sense, at least, the statement has hit its mark with Rawat.)
Soon stars from Madonna to Iggy Pop were sporting their knees through holes in their jeans. It was only a matter of time before it became a craze—and then, quite the done thing if you wanted to act cool and hip. The trend has lasted into the 2000s, with actors like Jennifer Aniston and Jodi Whittaker flaunting rather strikingly distressed jeans on camera.
Well, the debate over distressed fashion is long and continuing, with critics (not Rawat alone) finding such choices morally questionable and ugly. But hopefully, with the slow turn towards sustainability and zero-waste fashion, ripped jeans won't simply remain mannered style statements, but rather come to be seen as useful and pragmatic too.
Until then, setting aside these bigger questions and debates, here's a look at some of the women who are making #RippedJeansTwitter trend and showing Rawat and others like him how to rock a torn pair of jeans with class.
Here's what journalist Rohini Singh had to say:
In solidarity with the woman with the two kids trying to get somewhere who bore the brunt of a clearly sleazy man checking her out because she was wearing ripped jeans. #RippedJeansTwitter pic.twitter.com/N3fWgvlCBD— Rohini Singh (@rohini_sgh) March 17, 2021
What's the "message" sent out by ripped jeans? Here you go.
More examples followed.
What kind of mother would wear ripped jeans? Rawat had wondered. Twitter answered.
Fans of actor Parth Samthaan also chipped in, with good reason too.
The day is young and the fun has only just begun. We hope fashion designers and retail stores are taking note.