When I was young, I often damaged my clothes. Climbing over walls and fences, trying to get across gaps that were too wide, or playing rough games and sports. If I returned home with scuffed shoes, I would be told that I should be more careful. If I tore my trousers or shorts, my Mum would wash them, then repair or patch the tear. I would also be told that clothes were expensive, and had to be taken better care of. Wearing those heavily-sewn or patched items soon became embarrassing, and I slowly began to learn my lesson.
When I got into my teens, I took pride in my appearance. My shoes were polished, clothes clean and pressed, and I wouldn’t have been seen dead in something stained, or torn. I took this to be part of the growing-up process, and welcomed the change in my attitude.
Just recently, I have seen many examples of women (and some men) wearing clothes that are deliberately damaged before they even buy them. Ripped jeans, torn leggings, and some items that look like they have more rips and holes than material. This is not the niche fashion of the Punk era, nor something reserved for some inner-city ‘smart set’. It is ubiquitous, even in places as small and rural as our local town of Dereham, and the nearby village of Beetley. Out and about earlier today, it seemed to me that every female between the ages of 14 and 40 was wearing some version of a garment like the one shown in the above photo.
Someone was clever enough to persuade a huge chunk of the population to part with good money for something that others might well have thrown into a bin. I salute that person, for their business acumen, and sharp thinking.
But why they buy them is a mystery to me.