I spent a lot of time on social media this past year, so much so that when I hear stories about people who fostered pets, launched side hustles and wrote novels during quarantine, I begin to think I did the pandemic wrong. I didn’t pick up any new skills or hobbies, but I can provide a full report on conspiracy theories, royal family drama, celebrity feuds and Gen Z’s immovable stance against skinny jeans.
That being said, had I known in the early days of the pandemic that it would continue for more than a year, I’d still probably choose hours upon hours of scrolling through Instagram and TikTok to numb the sadness and anxiety brought on by this crisis.
One of my all-time favorite memes is from an early 2000s interview with Mariah Carey. In the 8-second clip, the “Hero” hitmaker is asked a question about Jennifer Lopez, who by that time had become a globally recognized pop star and actress. With a polite smile, Carey shakes her head and says, “I don’t know her.” It’s a quick and pointed response that will go down in the annals of shade history, and it somehow has become my inner voice toward anything I have adverse feelings for.
One of those things is loungewear.
My big quarantine achievement may in fact be coming out of this period without purchasing a single sweatshirt, jogger, hoodie or pair of sweatpants. The only tie-dye I added to my closet was in blazer and jean form. The notion that we need a whole new wardrobe for sitting around at home, and that comfort can only be achieved through elastic waistbands and fleece lining, is, to me, completely counter to the uplifting feeling that fashion can instill in our lives, especially during the bleakest of times.
I am, perhaps, too close to the denim industry to fully understand why jeans were among the garments relentlessly trolled on social media during the first months of the pandemic. The leaps and bounds the industry has made to make jeans feel softer and more flexible have been game-changing, and the sector continues to innovate in this space despite unfathomable loss and hardships.
But I am hopeful that as the world begins to reopen and people put this trying time behind them, they will also pack away their quarantine uniforms and rediscover the many joys of dressing up.
The latest issue of Rivet, if nothing else, represents the massive opportunity awaiting the jeans industry. And let me tell you: it isn’t loungewear. From the demand for adaptive apparel, genderless designs and vegan fashion, to the inroads denim is making in both the home and outdoor apparel categories, to the creative release designers are pouring into their collections, the possibilities are boundless.
This issue is dedicated to denim that is meant to be lived in and seen—not just through a social media feed or in the confines of our homes, but enjoyed in real life.