Ever since the days when Elvis Presley first decided to shake, rattle and roll wearing Levi’s jeans, distressed denim has been a status symbol for stylish rock stars. It’s no wonder, then, that today’s designers are naming jean lines after their star-studded clientele.
“We’re inspired by so many different artists,” said Andrea Bernholtz, president of Rock & Republic, whose styles have been worn by Jessica Simpson, Ashanti, Joaquin Phoenix and Mandy Moore. “I won’t say names but we’ve had a lot of icons ask, ’Please, when are you going to name a pair of jeans after me?’ ”
The company’s designs are often generated a bit more organically. “A lot of times we’ll be listening to ’70s rock and the collection will come from there,” said Bernholtz. “It just happens naturally.”
In addition to Rock & Republic — whose inventory includes the (Mick) Jagger, Iggy (Pop) and (David Lee) Roth — brands like Blue Cult and Sacred Blue are also paying tribute to famous fans.
Blue Cult first gained notice for the Gwyneth, inspired (of course) by Coldplay frontman Chris Martin’s Oscar-winning wife, and the line now includes jeans that pay homage to Chris Robinson’s muse, actress Kate Hudson.
In May, the Southern California company added two more pop stars to its roster: Hilary and Haylie Duff. The sisters were honored with peg-leg blue jeans, appropriately called the Duff. “Blue Cult named the skinny-leg jeans after us because that is our favorite style,” the duo said.
Sacred Blue, a three-year-old denim line, is also in heavy rotation with Hollywood hipsters. To celebrate its breakout success, the label will launch a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame collection in August, inspired by legends like Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison.
For those who haven’t yet achieved rock stardom (or just can’t afford designer duds), Bernholtz recommends adding your own flair to inexpensive brands from local discount or department stores. “Get a bunch of band patches, throw them onto some fabric and sew them on your jeans,” she suggested. “Rip some holes, or do a high cuff and roll them up to your knees with heels or boots.”
If you’re still not sure how to rock your look, just trust your instincts — remember, even the King didn’t have a Hollywood stylist. “People who wear denim have always been synonymous with rebels,” Bernholtz said. “They were rock stars because they forged their own path.”