Daily 49er

Nordstrom’s newest jeans are a costume for rich people to look poor

The Barracuda Straight Leg Jeans by Nordstrom are met with criticisms online and from television personalities

Nordstrom releases

Nordstrom releases "dirty" Barracuda Straight Leg jeans for $425.



Nordstrom releases "dirty" Barracuda Straight Leg jeans for $425.

Matthew Ramirez, Staff Writer

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Following, an $85 “paperweight,” construed of a rock wrapped in a leather pouch, Nordstrom released a pair of “muddy” jeans selling for $425. The popular high end retailers are continuing the trend of strange  — and impractical  — items for sale under its name.

Nordstrom released the Barracuda Straight Leg Jeans, splattered with a fake mud-like material to, according to the store website, give buyers a look “that shows you’re not afraid to get down and dirty.” Nordstrom is attempting to glamorize the American working-class for the consumption of upper-class people at a cost only the wealthy can pay.

But for Nordstrom to sell a pair of “worn down and rugged” jeans for $425 is not trendy, artsy, or even cool. It’s insulting. Insulting to those who actually do get worn down and rugged in labor intensive work while affluent youth are posing to look like working-class citizens.

Nordstrom is appropriating the image of hardworking people – mechanics, farm and migrant workers, custodial workers  —  and they are selling it to a demographic that likely has had no experience in any of those fields.

The design of the jeans themselves say one thing: I enjoy looking like somebody who works hard without putting in any of the effort.

Nordstrom is enabling the egotism of its customers to be shown to anyone who sees them wearing those jeans.

While affluent customers of Nordstrom have the money to buy these jeans, this does not mean that those who own the jeans are hard-working people themselves. Those who can afford the jeans may not have earned the money, but rather gained it through inheritance from their wealthy relatives or cash gifts.

The jeans quickly became the topic of conversation online with Mike Rowe, host of the television show “Dirty Jobs,” shared his criticism of the glamorized “rugged workwear.”.

Rowe posted his criticisms onto his Facebook page, which were shared more than 13,000 times.

“Finally — a pair of jeans that look like they have been worn by someone with a dirty job … made for people who don’t… The Barracuda Straight Leg Jeans aren’t pants. They’re not even fashion. They’re a costume for wealthy people who see work as ironic — not iconic,”  Rowe posted.

Conversation about the jeans continued on Twitter where users shared their opinions, many of them being negative. The online community was quick to mock the company and show their disapproval.

User @strangertweets tweeted: “Pathetic. If you want muddy jeans, try hard work. That builds character, too.”

Steve Butts, editor in chief of Imagine Games Network tweeted: “For when you need a pair of jeans as fake as you are,” with a picture of the jeans.

Mike Rowe, and many others share this view that Nordstrom is using the image of the working class as its new style for clothing and the rich youth are adopting this style, wearing the “costume of the rugged worker”  for hundreds of dollars.

It may very well be that the fashion enthusiasts at Nordstrom are promoting the working class with good intentions, but the execution of this attempt is showing adverse results. If the company wanted to acknowledge working class people, then a more appropriate approach could have been a donation of clothes or a sort of charity organization for lower-income families and individuals that rely on the jobs that get mud on clothing in the first place.

Upper-class Americans can still be thankful for the labor that the working class provides, but selling a pair of “down and dirty” jeans at an insanely expensive price not only excludes the working class, it profits from them, no pun intended. Attempting to “look poor” does not equate to actually being poor as rich individuals won’t know what it means to work day and night in order to feed themselves and their families or the discrimination placed upon actual laborers.  

Many comments to Nordstrom mocked the company, its jeans and customers. Nordstrom has not responded to criticisms and still offering the jeans in several variations on their website.

Nordstrom’s refusal to terminate the sale of the jeans is proving their dismissive consideration for the economic lower class. Regardless of what people are saying about the jeans the company is continuing to offer them so long as they are being sold.

The image of the working class is being dishonestly popularized and the nature capitalism is allowing it to continue. This may not be a direct instigation to the working class but it is still one that marginalizes lower income communities and makes their opinions, their voices, quiet.

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