Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I've been obsessed with vintage jeans for ages. For me they represent a treasure trove of memories, not just of my own adolescence, but also of the decade, the styles that came out of them, and the subsequent vintage ad campaigns. In the 1980's, designer jeans were the style craze. The once utilitarian clothing instantly evolved into high fashion when famous designers started making their own style of jeans and stamped them with their labels. Sales of jeans skyrocketed and everyone wanted a pair, no matter the price tag.

My own love affair with designer jeans started in 1982 with a girl named Amber and CHIC Jeans. We all remember that one girl in middle school who we all aspired to be, the girl who despite being our age always looked older, more stylish, and infinitely glamorous. The first one to wear makeup, the first to own a pair of designer jeans, and the girl all the boys crushed on. Amber in her CHIC jeans spurred my own interest in fashion. I also remember Gloria Vanderbilt were my mother's first foray into designer jeans. I was obsessed with them and often "borrowed" the jeans, even though they were much too big for me. But my own first pair were Calvin Kleins, and nothing came between me and my Calvin's. Here are a list of the most popular designer jeans of the 1980's.

In 1976 Gloria Vanderbilt launched her own line of designer jeans carrying her name embossed in script on the back pocket, along with her swan logo. Her jeans were more tightly fitted than the other jeans of the that time.

Jordache launched an aggressive ad campaign in 1979 to set their brand apart, starting with a television commercial starring a topless woman in tight Jordache jeans riding a horse through the surf. Even though the ad was rejected by all the major networks, independent New York stations aired it, and the label surged to popularity.

In the late 70's and early 80's Sasson popularized their jeans with an ad campaign that featured the catch phrase, "Oooh, la la, Sasson!"

In 1980 Calvin Klein featured a 15 year old Brook Shields in an ad campaign wearing a pair of his jeans with the strap line, "Nothing comes between me and my Calvins."

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