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An unfortunate accident or the latest fashion trend? That’s the question surrounding growing fashion brand, JordanLuca’s ‘Stain Stonewash Jeans’. The position of the darker wash across the front of the jeans gives the impression of somebody who just couldn’t hold it any longer.

Anarchic or plain crass, the ‘Pee-Stained’ jeans, as they have been labelled, have had older generations on social media complaining they are too long-in-the-tooth for these types of sartorial theatrics. The brand describes the jeans as ‘the embodiment of a fetishised capitalist state’, which is something of a stretch, but it is great exposure and publicity for the British-based brand. (We are talking about it after all).

“The jean is a commentary on the fetishisation of capitalist consumerism and is oxymoronic in itself.’ JordanLuca proclaims while making a healthy profit on them. The Fall/Winter 2023 £635 JordanLuca Stain Denim is now ‘sold out across the same globe it influenced’, it has announced and confirms to us it is simply a PR stunt.

JordanLuca

JordanLuca’s jeans are now sold out

The jean is a reminder of how this type of dumb, bad-taste fashion is at the end of its influence cycle. The type of fashion that starts with the point of view of ‘what is the worst thing we can make?’ and work backwards. This type of fashion was never about people looking good or clever and was all about provocative ideas and items that people believed were cool in a sheep-like way and happily piled into buying them. It was very much driven by hype and younger generations.

It was also the catalyst for many older generations to flock back and herald ‘quiet luxury’, even though there is nothing new about nice clothes sans logos.

Demna Gvasalia, the Georgian fashion designer and creative director of Balenciaga, was, arguably, the leader and ringmaster of this ‘vision’. It is nearly a decade since he took up the reins at one of Paris most historical houses, Balenciaga, and turned stores into concrete bunkers with clashing pink fluffiness.

Previously, he was responsible for women’s collections at Maison Martin Margiela, who was a pioneer in clever fashion that made you think and question the world. Gvasalia, along with brands and designers like Vetements (he was co-founder), Martine Rose and Gosha Rubchinskiy, pushed it far as they could and it became all about bin-bags and plastic lighter heels; too real and less surreal. Balenciaga asking $1,850 for ‘fully destroyed’ plimsolls was a turning point, while some items, like the rubber car mat skirts, remain museum-worthy pieces.

Balenciaga was flying, but then an ill-judged campaign featuring children in December 2022 dropped and everything went quiet. A decade later, people are jaded and have grown tired of the shock-tactics and wondering what they are/were buying into; crap clothes at crazy prices.

This was an opportunity for Kering, Balenciaga’s owner, to make a change and reset the brand. For anybody who watched the Disney+ series, Cristóbal Balenciaga, there wasn’t much, apart from the odd haute couture show, that had any relationship to the Spanish master and his strict idealism.

Balenciaga

Balenciaga’s towel skirt

Look into any Balenciaga store and they are empty. People vote with their feet. The biggest news from the brand for the SS24 season is the re-release of a bag first launched in 2001 under a different creative director. The Balenciaga City Bag designed by Nicolas Ghesquière sits awkwardly in the brand’s current offering.

Sales are down. In Kering’s Q1 2024 results, revenue from the group’s ‘Other Houses’, which includes Balenciaga, totalled €824 million down 7% and down 6% on a comparable basis. The total group reported first-quarter revenue at €4,504 million, down 11% and down 10% on a comparable basis driven by the transition at Gucci.

The luxury giant, Kering is in flux and is trying to halt a downward cycle. No doubt, they’ll be a change at the top of Balenciaga soon and then it will be a definitive end to all of this nonsense.

Jeans like this are no longer shocking, they are dated. The joke is over and the penny has finally dropped with consumers. It is time for fashion to stop taking the P.



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