There are numerous names and phrases that spring to mind when talking about fashion. Mary Quant, Yves Saint Laurent, the mini skirt, the little black dress, le smoking jacket, I could go on, but you get the general idea.
There is, however, a major influencer in the current fashion scene that you might not have heard of, even though you will undoubtedly have seen the look. You may have even commented on it, and either said “Hey, how cool, I’ll have some of that” or likelier, “What a mess.”
The name of this great leader in sartorial eloquence is Heddington.
Gold plated fashion.
During the nineteen eighties, I worked for a company that manufactured printed circuit boards. It was an industry as cutting edge as silicon valley is today. Some of the prototypes we made were so advanced it was the equivalent of working on the next iPhone. The secret of much of the production process was in the chemistry, and it was not a particularly friendly chemistry. Gold cyanide, black oxide, electroless copper are but a few words that spring to mind, and they all had two purposes in life.
To create electronic devices for the communications industry, for the military, and for slot machines.
To eat your trousers.
The production process was predominantly a manual one, and largely involved dipping things into a succession of tanks filled with odd smelling poisons, etches, and acids. One result of working in such an environment was the creation of a pattern of holes in one’s trousers created by the splashes of the chemicals, or by the action of leaning against the tanks. You could recognise an employee of the company purely by the absence of trouser.
Dedicated followers of fashion.
Turn the clock forward thirty years, and I now only wear jeans with holes in if I am gardening, decorating, or burying a body under the patio. Essentially, I work on the assumption that if I am doing a job that involves getting covered in shit, then it doesn’t matter if I look like a sack of shit. The same doesn’t go for everyone, and it is now seen as cool to dress as if you have just finished a long shift on a building site. To me, jeans with holes in are a sign that they need to be thrown in the bin. To many, it is the latest way in which to exhibit your individuality by copying everyone else.
On a recent tv chat show, Lewis Hamilton walked out wearing just such a pair of jeans, and yet, having been on the GQ list of best-dressed men, you’d think he’d know better. Or you’d think GQ would know better. Surely, someone should know better. Apparently, not. Fortunately, Mel Brooks was also on the show, and he was quick to point out that the Emperor’s New Clothes were in fact the Emperor’s old clothes and should have been binned long ago.
Sadly, it is one of those phenomena that has to run its course, and for now we must accept that everywhere you go, you will see people proudly donning their gardening trousers and swanning about with bits of knee and thigh on show.
So, the next time you see someone wearing jeans with holes in the knees, or with gaping slashes up the thighs, just remember that it is not new, it is not attractive, and I was wearing my trousers like that thirty years ago.
Richard Heddington is a photographer from Devon who has swum with sharks, great whales and friendly dolphins. Admittedly, they weren’t very close, but he was in the sea, so they were there somewhere.
With two middle names, a distinctive style and several UK Parula warblers on his British birding list there can surely be no other image maker quite like him.
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