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RIP skinnies. What’s next for jeans

RIP skinnies. What’s next for jeans?

Composite image showing (from left) Debbie Harry, Kanye West, and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy.

Composite image showing (from left) Debbie Harry, Kanye West, and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy. Composite: Richard Young/Rex/Shutterstock; Larry Busacca/Getty Images; Lawrence Schwartzwald/Sygma/Getty Images

Composite image showing (from left) Debbie Harry, Kanye West, and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy. Composite: Richard Young/Rex/Shutterstock; Larry Busacca/Getty Images; Lawrence Schwartzwald/Sygma/Getty Images

With denim returning to our wardrobes, the jury is out as to which cut of jeans will win out. Make the ‘anything goes’ moment work for you by looking to vintage inspiration for these 10 styles

Lauren Cochrane

Last modified on Fri 7 May 2021 18.26 BST

Farrah Fawcett in the 70s.

Farrah Fawcett in the 70s. Photograph: Spelling-Goldberg/Kobal/Rex/Shutterstock

In fashion, one thing’s for sure – the era of sweatpants is over, and denim is back. It’s also pretty clear that skinny jeans, the style that has refused to die for 20 years, are finally, waning from fashion’s pole position, thanks to gen Z relentlessly roasting milllenials over their trouser choice. And that is where the certainties end.

With the Levi’s CEO declaring this the beginning of a “new denim cycle”, fashion experts are uncharacteristically quiet on declaring what will be declared the jean of the future – or even of now. They’re hedging their bets. Everything from the straight leg to the bootcut and the lowrise has been mooted. There could be an upside to this indecision. It means you can have another look at your jeans collection – not the ones you wear on repeat, the other ones, the neglected styles – and reassess how to wear them.

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Alternatively, shop vintage to refresh your denim choice while staying sustainable and looking like an early adopter of a trend. Here are 10 different denim designs, worn well by style icons over the years. Take inspiration to find your jean of 2021.

Jimi Hendrix on stage at Woodstock, 1969.

Jimi Hendrix on stage at Woodstock, 1969. Photograph: Warner Bros/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

Ravers in Manchester in 1989.

Ravers in Manchester in 1989. Photograph: Peter J Walsh/Pymca/Rex/Shutterstock

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In mid-2020 the image began to spread, inspiring memes across social media, particularly on Twitter. One of the earliest memes using the photograph was uploaded to Twitter [3] on May 19th, 2020 by @BoxeoDeBlog, who tweeted, “AJ batters Muhammad Ali …” along with the photo, imagining something the lads in the image might say, garnering over 20,000 likes and 1,900 retweets in 8 months (shown below, left). On May 19th, @mediobentro tweeted, [5] «Peaky Blinders is quality mate, Tom Hardy surely the best actor going» garnering over 34,500 likes and 5,000 retweets in a comparable span of time (shown below, right).

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Commissioner 000 ФВохеoDeBlog * @mediobentro · May 19, 2020

On June 9th, @harrisonjbrock tweeted, [4] “Yeah he might have been a bit racist, but defacing a Winston Churchill statue is just too far mate.” along with the photo, imagining the boys as stereotypical conservative British lads, a theme applied to many memes using the image (shown below, left).

On June 10th, The Tab published an interview with the four men from the photo, who admit that the memes are funny, but that they do not condone or enjoy the ones that paint them as stereotypically conservative or racist, as that is not who they are, making particular mention of a meme referencing George Floyd in a bad light along with their image (shown below, right). The tweet has since been removed as well as the account that made it.

Harrison Brocklehurst @harrisonjbrock · Jun 9, 2020 @MadVexDonny

On January 12th, 2021, @KyleHogan98 tweeted, [6] «Isn’t it mad that 4 lads got a picture together before a night out and are now memes for the rest of their lifes hahahahahah» garnering over 40,500 likes and 1,200 retweets in 6 days. On January 14th, @vonstrenginho tweeted, [7] «Sea shanty tiktok is WILD» along with a deepfake video of the four lads singing the sea shanty «Wellerman,» which went viral on TikTok in late 2020, garnering over 180,000 likes and 43,000 retweets in 4 days (shown below).

On January 18th, LADbible [8] and Mirror [9] published interviews with the lads, the latter in which they describe how their mothers were trolled for the memes. On the same day, Tyla [10] published an article sharing a rumor that the lads may appear on the next season of the UK reality dating show Love Island.

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Netflix Series

On Febraury 1st, 2021, on their TikTok account, the Four Lads in Jeans announced a Netflix special entitled Making the Meme, which they wrote would be released in December 2021.

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