TODAY -

My endless love affair with Jeans

Samarjit Kambam *



Firstly, my honest confessions. "Jeans" is not the name of a lady. Please don't misunderstand me for there are many girlies and ladies by the name of "Jeans". Actually, the name was derived after the city of Genoa in Italy, a place where cotton corduroy called either Jean or Jeane was manufactured.

Time passes by, seasons changeth, people grow older the games nature plays, the laws of nature we can't break. Even planet earth has a life span, so do the sun and the universe. But there are some things in the world that seem everlasting. Say, everlasting love songs where you don't get bored even after listening to it for umpteen times day after day, month after month, year after year.

As people use to say "diamonds are forever", to me, or to be more appropriate, as long as I breathe, a pair of jeans is an everlasting entity. Even though the origin of jeans also known as 'denims' dates back to 1873 when Levi Strauss from Germany and Jacob Davis from Nevada started the factory Levi Strauss & Co at San Francisco, United States and started producing jeans pants, the apparels made of jeans which are made of sturdy cotton based fabric has withstood the test of time.

It came a long way, from a workers uniform to a symbol of youth rebellion to a fashion statement. Now jeans has become a culture throughout the world, a 143 years old culture and still going strong, even getting stronger.

The attires made of jeans come in many forms trousers, jackets, shirts, waist-coat, tool-kit jeans, loafers, caps, skirts particularly mini or micro and even cotton embedded jean bras. Heaven knows whether jean underpants are manufactured. So far, I still haven't come across any.

My love for jeans started when I was in standard five. I would look with awe and admiration towards a person dressed in a pair of jeans and more preferably if adorned with a jeans jacket as an addendum. Compared to younger generations, my beginning of love affair with jeans was rather late. Kids of now-a-days wear pants and jackets of jeans even before their first birthday.

Indeed, they are luckier than old schools like me. Even though approaching middle age, my love for jeans, instead of waning seems to grow fervently. I know, people may be talking behind my back commenting, "Look at that idiot, wearing those casual things at his age. Doesn't he look ridiculously odd?".

But the stubbornness inside me made me care two hoots to what others articulate behind my back. The logic is simple. I buy the jeans attires by my own hard earned money and dress up the way I like and they, whoever talks behind my back didn't buy those for me. So, I don't give a damn to what others utter behind my back.

Human nature is quite interesting. Everybody talks behind the back of others but don't possess the dignity to say so in front of the subject individual. As an anonymous once said "If you want to correct me, please don't talk behind my back, say straightaway in front of me so that I can correct my mistakes and improvise myself".

I really appreciate such straightforward but high intensity words filled with positivity. And I go by my rules, I play my games the way I want to and the above mentioned quote really inspires me to leave a positive and meaningful life.

My love for jeans is rather influential. Just like peer pressure leading to addictions of many kinds, I was addicted to jeans with singers and Hollywood actors as my virtual peers. Hollers like Kurt Cobain, bands like Megadeth, Paul Gilbert of Mr Big, Bryan Adams, Bruce Springsteen and actors like Sylvester Stallone, Jean Claude Van Damme, Clint Eastwood etc., influenced me to a high degree when it comes to my liking of attires made of jeans.

Almost everyday I attend my office in the most casual apparels without the absence of a pair of jeans. I might look like a simian freak or a broken-winged dragonfly or a praying mantis which had forgotten its praying stance with my thin legs and flat-screen buttocks and I know I might look totally out of place for I can feel the vibration of the stare of my colleagues at my "dressing up to the zeroes".

Nevertheless, I consider myself lucky for my superior officers are patient enough to tolerate me as I hover around the office with a pair of jeans which at the office ambience looks strikingly odd.

During my John Player years when I was young, wild and carefree, me and my "holier than thou" friends would talk about jeans, jeans and more jeans. We would talk about the latest arrivals. We would talk about Levi Strauss & Co, Wrangler, Lee, Calvin Klein, Guess, Diesel, R & R, G-Star etc etc., most of them made in Taiwan, Thailand and China and usually purchased at Moreh Market, now Paona International Market.

If we were lucky enough we would get original ones albeit at a higher price coming from Kathmandu side. However, Levi Strauss & Co remains our favourite. With the passage of time, the shape and structure of jeans trousers keep on changing. By the time I started wearing one, tight jeans were in vogue.

In fact, they were too tight, you have to be extra cautious while sitting abruptly lest your balls might get squeezed giving you breathless moments, moments of agony you had to endure to keep up with the trend, a price you have to pay to be in vogue. Once, while I was buying veggies from the market, an old lady asked me, "Son, your jean pants look too thin. Are you comfortable with it?".

My reply was an inaudible mumble for I found no words to convince the old lady that I was quite comfy with it. Easy question, uneasy answer. Then came the dawn of bell bottom or bold bottom as some would say but the trend was short-lived. Then, it was followed by awkward looking structured jeans which also did not give the impact of a lasting trend. The evolution of the looks and structure of apparels of jeans keeps on changing.

With globalisation, increase in competition, availability of better machineries and sprouting up of constellations of apparels technology institutes, India is also keeping up pace in manufacturing jeans trousers and other apparels. Now the market is flooded with various kinds of desi jeans apparels with a variety of names. You are spoilt for choices even though the desi ones are not my choice.

The problem is finding out which one is desi and which is not, which one is original, which one is not. Even salesmen of grand showrooms will dupe you and easily take you for a ride if you are not so familiar with the quality of the fabric, its smoothness, its stretchability, its linings, its contour and its peripherals and other factors such as the quality and design of brass zipper or metal buttons.

Even more problematic is buying them online for the quality looks of the picture of jeans attires on the screen and the quality of the ones you actually receive are usually miles apart.

Seems like hybrids of jeans are coming up nowadays. However, Levi Strauss & Co still remains my most preferred choice. When I die, my advance appeal to my would-be funeral attendees is to cloth me up properly in a pair of jeans trousers and jacket and jean loafers, not some shit such as sheet of white cloth. Let me go to Heaven wearing jeans for my love for jeans is embedded deep in my genes.


* Samarjit Kambam wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer may be reached at kambamsamarjit0(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was posted on May 02, 2017.


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