Pre-ripped clothing: fashion trend or just plain ripoff?

March 13, 2018 — by Alex Wang and Sophia Zivanic

Lately fashion trends have promoted the less fabric there is, the more expensive and the more fashionable. Even celebrities have neem wearing simple clothes with huge gaping holes in them, but is it an aesthetic or a ripoff?

Oklahoma City Thunder superstar guard Russell Westbrook sent waves through social media in late January after showing up to a game wearing a yellow sweater with a majority of the fabric missing, including a gaping hole below his chest.

Distressed clothing like Westbrook’s sweater was already on the rise, but he took it to another level.

This trend has been around for decades but has recently gained popularity. Although this type of clothing is meant to appear as old and worn-down, it can still be very pricey. For example, Givenchy, a French luxury fashion company, sells a “destroyed hoodie” — essentially a hoodie with cuts and rips in it — for $1,320. You would think the large chunk of missing fabric throughout the hoodie would make it cheaper, but it turns out to be just the opposite.

Last year, Nordstrom enraged the internet when it came out with mud-caked jeans called "Barracuda Straight Leg Jeans,” another example of charging unreasonable prices for distressed clothing. Described as “heavily distressed” jeans with “a crackled, caked-on muddy coating that shows you’re not afraid to get down and dirty,” they went on sale for $425. Some on social media said the attire insulted those who actually have “dirty jobs.”

Although students at SHS do not wear this extreme of distressed clothing, they do have a fair share of ripped shirts and jeans in their closets.

Sophomore Derek Shay has been wearing distressed clothing since the beginning of this year because he has always bought clothing from PacSun, which started selling ripped clothes recently.

Shay said he likes wearing the distressed clothing, such as hoodies with small tears and jeans with splattered paint, for their aesthetic.

“It kind of makes you more rugged,” Shay said. “It’s satisfying seeing that everyone is starting to like distressed clothing.”

However, there is a limit to the distressing for Shay. He claims that too many rips is “too much,” but “a little here and there” is good. He also likes the cuts that are placed on an outfit where people do not often look, so he can stay “low-key.”

Besides PacSun, he also sports clothes from Urban Outfitters, Nokwal and Hollister. He said that because bigger name companies like these have been promoting distressed clothing, many people have hopped on the trend.

Although distressed clothing from stores comes pre-ripped with thoughtfully placed holes and scuffs, there are some who consider it overpriced. As a result, many have tried making their own ripped jeans and shirts.

“I need to know how to sew a certain way and make the distress strings a certain width so they don’t break,” Shay said. “It might take a lot of work, but when I have time this summer I’ll try to buy some like plain clothes and cut them myself.”

With athletes and students embracing the distressed clothing culture, it seems to be a style choice on the rise.

“I think it’s a new trend that could be the next big thing in clothing,” Shay said.

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