New short film explores denim’s impact on biker clubs, punk, rap, skateboarding, and art movements.
Henry Rollins and Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo appear in a new short Levi’s documentary examining how the 501 jean became the unofficial clothing of some of the biggest rebellious movements of the 21st century, from punk to LGBTQ rights protests.
Rebellion, the latest 6-minute segment in Levi’s The 501 Jean: Stories of an Original series, traces the history of denim as rebellious clothing back to the 1940s, when GIs returning from WWII with mechanical skills and shell shock turned to biker clubs to replace the brotherhood and adrenaline they were used to in the military.
“Here you are in your same denims you were digging your ditches in yesterday,” says Ranaldo in the film, which you can watch here. “It’s almost a punk move. When rock music came to the fore, it had a lot to do with honesty. People saw wearing denim onstage as a symbol of that.”
“Punk rock to me was jeans, t-shirts, boots and I had a length of chain for a belt so I could brandish it as a weapon,” adds former Black Flag frontman Rollins, before contributions from other American pop culture Levi’s fans.