Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, November 7, 2002

Fashion forum members make their marks on jeans

By Paula Rath
Advertiser Staff Writer

Clockwise from left, Richard Kuwada's jean creation with safety pins; Willow Chang's Asian-motif jeans with fur trim; Tanya Harris' eyelet-trimmed skirt; and Sherry Wong's elaborate beaded jeans.

Photos by Gregory Yamamoto and Deborah Booker The Honolulu Advertiser

The popularity of denim shows no signs of waning. In fact, this season it's all about dressing up jeans with every imaginable embellishment.

An American invention, jeans originated in the days of the California Gold Rush. Today, they are a global fashion phenomenon.

Perhaps part of jeans' popularity is their versatility. In the 21st century, denim goes everywhere from construction sites to corporate offices.

In a nod to the iconic nature of our nation's sartorial favorite, we asked members of The Advertiser's Fashion Forum to turn a pair of jeans into a style statement that could take them anywhere, from campus to clubbing.

We got some wild results. Here are the details on a fab fivesome of denim creations.

Shangri-La Skies

  • Designer: Willow Chang.
  • How long it took: 30+ hours.
  • Inspired by: A combination of Asian motifs — Tibetan clouds, Chinese folkloric dragons, "and a sort of Mongolian vibe, all thrown into the blender."
  • Materials used: Sequins, beads, real sable found in a thrift shop years ago and a beaded dragon appliqué.
  • What she did: She hand-beaded and hand-sequined all but the dragon. She photocopied clouds and cut them out, drew an outline of the cloud directly onto the denim and cross-hatched color areas to avoid confusion. The sewing was done from the inside out.

From Tutu's Closet

  • Designer: Tanya Harris.
  • How long it took: Two hours.
  • Inspired by: "I guess it was a cowboy style, but I just have always loved eyelet."
  • Materials used: Scissors, eyelet, thread i all found in grandmother's closet.
  • What she did: Cut the legs off a pair of jeans, opened them up and sewed the crotch together to make a skirt, leaving raw edges to fray, then added eyelet around the hem and pockets.

'70s Punk

  • Designer: Richard Kuwada.
  • How long it took: 6 hours.
  • Inspired by: "Several designers have used safety pins in their collections: Steven Sprouse in his '87-'88 fall collection, John Galliano in his '97-'98 fall collection and Dolce and Gabbana in their 2001-2002 spring collection, when they took distressed jeans to couture heights."
  • Materials used: Safety pins, vintage brooches and earrings found at a church thrift store and the Salvation Army, fabric glue.
  • What he did: Slit the jeans down the front at random intervals, frayed slits and hem with scissors, and pinned them together. "There's no system except for the matching earrings at the bottom and top (of the slits)." Learned along the way: "I wanted hip-huggers for men, but the only ones I found were too beautiful (and expensive) to cut up, so I bought women's jeans at a discount. They had to be women's, because if you wear men's jeans low on the hip the crotch hangs too low (to be fashionable)."

Let's Rock!

  • Designer: Sherry Wong.
  • How long it took: Eight or nine hours.
  • Inspired by: Rock 'n' roll glamour.
  • Materials used: Remnants from Willow's closet: cut velveteen shimmer fabric, a variety of studs and rhinestones (colored and clear).
  • What she did: Set and sewed the strips of fabric and went wild with the Bedazzler.
Twan Matthews made a statement, literally, when it came to designing his pair of jeans.

Gregory Yamamoto The Honolulu Advertiser

My Statement
  • Designer: Twan Matthews.
  • How long it took: One day.
  • Inspired by: "Making my own statement, saying what I want, without any apologies." The front reads: "fashion is for those who create it," and the back says "not for those who follow it."
  • Materials used: Bleach, markers and a fine-tipped pencil.
  • What he did: "I took a barbeque brush and a big stone and dipped them in Clorox and went at it. I did the right front pant leg, then the left back pant leg. I let the jeans dry, then wrote my statement on them."