Best of Seven Series: Red Denim

Let’s talk about divisive issues – the kind where people fall fervently on either one side or the other.  And I really do mean fervently.  All over the world, people passionately advocate for their position on the topic.  Alliances are formed.  Relationships are tragically ripped apart.  People stop speaking.  Shins are kicked: cilantro, reproducing, moustaches, Barack Obama, purple grape flavoring, Les Miserable, hair management with premature baldness, the color mustard, mushrooms, Perez Hilton, wasabi – these important matters surround us in a gigantic bear hug of debate.  It’s basically our responsibility to hash these issues out, to shed light on such contentious discussions.  And so, as the socially conscientious people we are, we enlisted 5 brilliant people, who, with Irving and I, comprise a 7 person panel armed to tackle one of the deepest rooted, most dramatic, and highly profound debates there is: Red denim.

This panel is the first ever, the infant, installment of  the Best of Seven Series, which we hope to experiment with and run occasionally.  Each panel will tackle a different highly critical and contentious issue in a smart, insightful, fun, and obviously life changing way.  Each Best of Seven Series will involve 5 participants, Irving, and myself (for a total of 7 panelists).  After writing 6 questions surrounding the issue, Irving and I send each participant the questions, and they have about a week to formulate their highly calculated and incredibly deep responses.  Then, we compile all these responses, and send them back to panelists, and in about a week, they get back to us with their final thoughts – their last word, their final jab, their closing remarks around each issue.

As you read through this Best of Seven Series panel, you will first find a short biography of each participant.  Next you will find the first of the 6 questions, followed by each panelist’s response.  After cruising through all 6 questions and responses, you will end with the final thoughts, where each panelist wraps up their take on the issue.

We hope you enjoy, and please – the Best of Seven Series is a baby right now.  Not even, it’s basically an article zygote, and so it needs some love.  Please comment or Tweet us with any of your thoughts on the series or ways we can help you love it (more than you already do, right?).

Biography Time

Ai-Men: Ai-Men is a tiny, Asian girl who battles the hello kitty stereotypes.  She likes to do a little thing called shagging in dodgeball and belongs to a league.  She loves chocolate, beer and wearing sweatpants daily.  She hates K-Pop, mushrooms and being told that she looks cute.  Ai-Men owns one coloured denim item, which are plum coloured jeans.

AnnaAnna has a special place in her heart for grumpy cat, magic bags, and cozy mittens.  Anna can inhale an entire bag of chips in one sitting.  Real pants can be challenging and the mention of water activities or sour soothers receives a frowny face.  In addition, Toms shoes are a staple in Anna’s life.  Anna owns one piece of colored denim, a pair of pale pink jeggings – that counts, right?

Braeden: Braeden takes coffee with his cream and sugar, prefers over-ripe bananas, would choose guilty pleasures over guilt-free pleasures, and has had his childhood adapted into a cinematic trilogy entitled Toy Story.  The longest span of time Braeden has gone without daydreaming was not worth recording.  He owns 3 pairs of colourful pants, one of which is a burgundy denim.

Daniyel: Daniyel enjoys long walks to the kitchen from his bedroom and back.  After working over six years in retail, Daniyel has become skeptical of other humans and of their intentions.  He prefers wearing darker jeans most likely because they’re less aggressive.  Daniyel has over 25 pairs of jeans in his closet (he worked at a jean store, okay), none of which are red.

Michelle: Michelle is a wannabe adult who spends her time reading, crying that the Flames lost, or looking at cat videos on youtube.  She is a big fan of peanut butter, zombie flicks, and impulse purchases.  She has never used Instagram, Tumblr, or Twitter but is happy to pretend she knows what any of those things are.  She owns 3 pieces of denim, none of which are coloured anything but traditional blue.

Irving: Irving owns 3 pieces of coloured denim, 1 is red.  He’s a guy, why does he need more than one pair of red jeans?

Nicole: Nicole owns two pieces of colored denim, both of which are of the real-pants-with-a-button variety, and neither of which are red.

And Now, Questions and Responses

1. Imagine you are walking down the street on a warm Saturday in spring.  You see a cute member of the gender to which you are attracted rocking some red denim.  What goes through your mind?

Ai-Men: First off, definitely wouldn’t of notice the red pants because I would be to busy staring at said person’s face.  That’s cause I’m a hormone filled, emotionally unstable ball of a girl.  I might notice the person’s red denim depending on the attractiveness of said person (more attractive, less noticing the red denim and vice versa).  I have run into a pole because I was too busy creeping on a very attractive stranger.  That is how unobservable I can be.

Anna: I feel as though there can be two reactions for this. It can end up looking great and I think, “Wow, it’s tough to pull off red pants, and you look fiiine.” Or you can look like you’re wearing your girlfriend’s pants, which while you may be attractive, a misplaced item of clothing might not look so hot. Literally. You could look like a tomato.

Braeden: First I think: “Daaayum.”  A guy in red denim usually communicates an attractive degree of confidence. Then I consciously register that he’s wearing red denim and question his sexy-and-I-know-it attitude.  All together it would go: “Daaayum – wait… definitely an arrogant douche bag… but definitely rockin’ it….”

Daniyel: Okay, she’s cute, but why are her jeans so aggressive?  It’s like her jeans are saying, “Hey there, you see my jeans?  Look at my jeans.  Look at my legs.  LOOK AT MY LEGS.”

Michelle: I am picturing him appearing just over a small hill, at first I only see his head, maybe a cute scruffy face, then a nice T-shirt, showing just a little bit of muscle.  But then as he walks closer I see them: red pants.  All of a sudden I am no longer thinking of the cute guy, but I am thinking of red pants.  It’s distracting, like a laser pointer to a cat.

Irving: This situation depends if I’m wearing my red jeans or not.  If I’m not, I’ll notice them but my focus will be on her face.  I’ll appreciate her killer sense of fashion and her confidence to take risks.  If I’m wearing my jeans, I’m trying to see if I’m rocking them better than her.

Nicole: Total first thought: “he’s compensating”.  I mean, red jeans are a bold statement.  An attention seeking ploy.  Perhaps there are people who rock red jeans strictly because they love how they feel in them, but I am skeptical even of these people (who are 0.001% of people ever).  It’s like bedazzled clothing –  I’m immediately suspicious that there is something you are either making up for or distracting from.

2. Pretend you are the fashion czar, the big cheese in world fashion. You get to decide the rules of what can be worn and when, and by who.  What do you consider when creating red denim appropriateness rules?

Anna: Under no circumstances can you wear this whole ‘Canadian Tuxedo’ look; I’m talking red on red denim, not a good look.  I’m red denim conservative to be honest.  Too much of a good thing rings true when talking about red denim.  One red denim item with neutral patterns and colors can look pretty stellar, and only wear what you feel comfortable in.  If you don’t feel good in the clothes, it won’t matter how much you spent on them.  Too much color and you might end up looking like a Rubiks cube.

Braeden: I subscribe to a “wear and let wear” philosophy, but if I had to enforce the rules, I would say keep it to one piece.  Two pieces of red denim is too many pieces of red denim, unless of course you happen to be Darren Criss, then please, wear a full on red denim suit if you’re so inclined.

Daniyel: If I were a famous fashion designer, I would put out the brightest red jeans on the market.  I’d organize a fashion show and find the bitchiest models to wear my jeans.  Then, I’d have them give everyone in the audience the finger while they walked down the catwalk.

Michelle:  Children: Red denim pants may only be allowed to be worn by children 10 and under (children at this age are not trying to make any kind of statements yet, but are just being colorful and vibrant kids, sounds good to me!)
Adolescents: Red denim accessories and accent pieces may only be worn by the preteen set.  That is headbands, hats, vests, belts or any other small piece of clothing.  Stores geared toward this age, like Ardene and Claires, are destined to make trendy pieces like this, so go nuts adolescents!
Adults or “adults”: red denim may be permitted as long as said wearer accepts the conditions that this trend may be mocked or regretted in future years, as is the case with parachute pants, velour track suits, popped collars, and shoulder pads.

Irving: The first rule is that if you wear anything that is red denim, you’re not allowed to wear anything else that is red.  You don’t need to look like a stop sign.  The second rule is if you have a significant other who also owns the same piece of denim which is red you’re not allowed to match outfits when together in public.    You think you look cute but you’re just asking to be mocked by prime people watchers.

Nicole: Red denim is a sensitive topic that needs to be approached with extensive tact.  Or else you look like a gigantic red Smartie, and I do not believe that such a look is exactly on trend.  I saw a girl the other day in a red denim jumpsuit –  not cute.  But a pair of red denim skinnies, rolled a few inches into a messy cuff, paired with adorbs strappy sandals and an effortless white shirt – cute.  You know the whole ‘practice safe sex’ thing?  Use that same care with red denim.  Practice safe red denim.  Please.

Ai-Men: Personally, my fashion motto is if you like it, wear it.  Who cares? People are going to judge, but you know what?  When you like it, you rock it.  Red denim whenever.  Also I can’t judge because I used to wear neon green fishnets to school.

3. Are there any items of clothing that should never be made with red denim?  Are there any items of clothing you wish were made with red denim that currently aren’t?

Braeden: I think this photo beautifully sums up the should-not’s.  As far as additional items, perhaps a red denim turtle neck?  No.  I don’t want that.  Nobody wants that.

Daniyel: I’m no fashion guru, but I know this: don’t wear red with more red.  Anyone remember the Kool-Aid man?  How about red denim bottoms with a nice green jacket?  Accessorize with a white beanie, a white scarf, and a pair of nice white shoes.  I just realized that I made someone dress up like a walking Christmas card.  Wow, next question.

Michelle: No: Underwear, socks, capes, ties, pajamas, housecoats.  Yes: sneakers?  Does this exist yet?  I actually think I might like that!

Irving: Those leather skirt pant things rappers are wearing right now.  Those should never be worn in public, period.  A denim counterpart to those should never be created.  The reason why Kanye and A$AP Rocky can wear them is because they’re on stage.  You’re not. I can’t think of anything that I wish were made of red denim that isn’t.  I would like a red denim tie though.

Nicole: This is embarrassing: I know what a dickey is.  And I know that as long as I shall live, I hope to never see it made from red denim.  Quick lesson – a dickey is an extraordinary piece of clothing that is essentially turtleneck minus the shirt.  Just the neck.  Tragically, they still exist.  Let us pray they never exist in red denim.

Ai-Men: Red denim Uggs.  No.  Just no.  I’m sorry to anyone who likes Uggs, but I think they look absolutely ridiculous.  Red Uggs just put two honking red masses upon your feet.  But this is coming from a girl who used to neon green fishnets to school.   Um, red fishnets I guess?  I don’t own a pair.

Anna: A headband, t-shirt, and socks, almost everything that could be made into a clothing option, shouldn’t be made into red denim.  Too much red denim is a catastrophe, and not a good look. I am fairly certain no one would want red denim in anything other than pants, shorts, and maybe a vest for females.  I strongly feel that men should stick to red denim pants and that’s it.  I don’t think that there is anything that doesn’t already exist in terms of red denim.  To be completely honest, less is more when it comes to red denim.

4. Put on your big wig Hollywood movie director hat – pretend you are like Spielberg.  You are casting a movie where the main character will often wear red denim.  What is this character like?  What do they do, what is their personality, likes, dislikes, even their hair; typecast away.

Daniyel: Alright, my main character would be a female and she’d be a bad bitch.  You know, like the sassy best friend in the horror movie that’s like, third last to die because she’s the main character’s best friend.  She’d be pretty aggressive, like if it was a horror movie, the killer would hesitate to kill her because she’s so damn aggressive in her red jeans.

Michelle: A very trendy hipster type, living in San Francisco.  They are in their early 20s and are very laid-back.  This person would work for a small not-for profit company or NGO.  In his/her free time, they frequent trendy cafes, indie music shows, or are trying DIY crafts they have seen on Pinterest.  Their hair is asymmetrical, as is their personality.  They live in a small loft with 5 other people just trying to get by in the big city.  I guess I am picturing the movie Rent, but set in San Fran and sans AIDS.  La Vie Boheme young red denim wearing hipster!

Irving: I’m calling an audible on this question and changing movie to television show.  The television show will be called Irving and it will be like Louis CK’s show Louie.

Nicole: Once, I watched Vertical Limit.  Everyone was wearing generic one-piece snowsuits.  This movie was a disaster for my extremely lackluster movie comprehension skills.  Also, there seemed to be a whole load of people who froze to death. I would have loved for one character, anyone, to be wearing red denim, so I could tell them apart.  I feel red denim could have been deeply practical here.  Maybe a red denim snowsuit patch, perhaps a red denim scarf tie, maybe even some red denim plaid on a snow boot.  In fact, this is one of best uses for red denim I can think of.  Vertical Limit remake, here we come (but with less death.  And more rescuing).

Ai-Men: This character is an anger filled ball who’s heart was recently broken.  ‘Cause red usually is associated with anger right?  Anyways, they want to get back at their ex-spouse for betraying them somehow.  They like rap music and have Mercy constantly on reply.  They hate any chick flicks cause they can’t get over their own miserable break up.  They like MMA fighting ‘cause stress relief comes in the form of punching someone out.  And they have overly supportive parents and a moody teenage brother.

Anna: Red denim onesies are a must.  If I am making people wear whatever I want, it will be a onesie.  With a butt flap.  My character will be a lovable nerd.  A typical romcom perhaps, girl-meets-boy, boy is disgusted by girl’s style and rejects her.  She gets a makeover from a new galpal who transitions her passion for onesies into a love for red denim pants, which look great on her.  The boy finds out she actually had a good personality and wants to date her.  CURVEBALL.  She found a nicer boy who liked her even when her style was u-g-l-y. It is like Avril Lavigne’s Sk8r Boi, without the ending, and with a gender reversal.

Braeden: I’m casting Jennifer Lawrence (That J-Law’s so hot right now) as the insecure, quirky, and defensive leading lady in this romantic comedy.  She thinks a transformation of her physical appearance will lead to the inward boost of self-worth she needs to earn the love of co-star Andrew Garfield.  Naturally, she starts dressing in red denim and in turn intimidates her love interest.  (I think I’m uncovering an entire psychology behind red denim.  You heard it here first!)

5. Let’s all agree that red denim is currently on trend.  If we fill a time capsule right now, to be opened in 100 years, and we put red denim in, what other things would you also include to demonstrate/go with/communicate the culture that supports colored denim?

Michelle: To be honest, I’m not really fashion forward enough to know what would go with red denim.  My first thoughts (and this might be way off base) would be fedoras, suspenders, converse sneakers, skinny jeans, and big, black rimmed glasses.  So I am either describing a 2013 fashionista…or Steve Urkel.

Irving: A Hershel backpack, a yoga mat, indie music, floral print shirts, black thick rimmed glasses, a pair of chucks, and a snap back fitted cap.

Nicole: Kale, a lovely watering can  (I hope the future appreciates $50 gardening supplies), quinoa and chia, creative sushi, a vintage bicycle, Jagermeister, and a cream-colored lace romper.

Ai-Men: Probably indie music, a mac book and organic quinoa.  Because I constantly make fun of Irving’s hipster-ness and he owns red denim pants.

Anna: If we agree that red denim is in fact in style, I would say that I would include ads that show how popular color in general is this season.  There is not one specific one that stands out this spring/ summer; every store has about fifteen shades of colored shorts and jeans.  Although I would like to note that red denim was the gateway pant into all colors of pants.  Red denim jeans were the hipsters of pants in this scenario.

Braeden: Definitely Lady Gaga.  This being a spiteful gesture to let them know that even though they sent someone from the future to fast-forward fashion, we adamantly clung to colored denim over meat clothing and bubble wrap.

Daniyel: This one was tricky.  I’d probably put an H&M catalogue in the time capsule because it’s the only place that sells red denim that I know of.  Seriously, where else do you find red denim?  Some shop located in an alleyway where you may have a dangerous encounter with a man named Butch?  You’d have to be pretty aggressive to want to go there.

6. Which sports figure (or celebrity if you hate sports) would you most like to see in red denim and why? Which sports figure should probably avoid red denim?

Irving: Russell Westbrook. Someone who should never wear it?  This.

Nicole: There are some very good looking men playing in the NHL (my obvious sport of choice), but I must say, I do not have fantasies of any of them sporting red denim.  They are too rugged, too well suited to the world of dark denim.  Also, no self-respecting Oilers player would rock red denim –  such a fashion choice would be far too provocative Flames wise.  That said, this reminds me that I would not like to see Lanny McDonald in red denim.  Under any circumstance. Red denim would totally clash with his extraordinary facial hair situation.

Ai-Men: I would like to see Iggy in red denim, just because my heart is still sore over the Penguins trade.  Knowing that he still cares about the Flames would be nice, you know?  I would like Brandon Knight to avoid wearing red denim.  He already has a red target painted on his back after Deandre Jordan’s murder of him.  The red target of humiliation.

Anna: It might be difficult to pull off red denim if they don’t accessorize properly with other clothing and accessories, but as mentioned, I’m conservative when it comes colored denim so I really don’t think many people can pull the look off.  If I had to choose a celebrity to wear red denim, I have to say that I would love to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt in some skinny red jeans.  Jack Black should avoid this trend.

Braeden: Uhh, right… sports figure…. I would have to say that the Gryffindor house quidditch team should definitively rock some red denim vests.  I would suggest that all other house teams avoid red denim as it’s just going to clash with their house colors, and that’s inappropriate.

Daniyel: Someone aggressive like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Clint Eastwood. I mean just picture Schwarzenegger in the whole Terminator outfit, except he’d be wearing red denim pants.  “That guy is serious.  Look at his red pants.  And he has a gun, too.”

Michelle: In honour of new, progressive times, I think it would be wise for Pope Francis to rock the red denim.  What better way to show you are the hippest pope yet!?  I also think T Swift could probably do red denim justice, because she is T Swift, and she can do anything.  Celebrities who shouldn’t wear red denim?  Probably men 40 or above.  For some reason the idea of George Clooney or Jack Nicolson wearing red denim makes me giggle.

Wrapping Up – Final Thoughts

Ai-Men: Red denim isn’t in my wardrobe and it might sneak it’s way in there.  Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of the bright colour for pants, but I have seen many people rock them well and not so well.  But still my motto stands,  “If you like it, wear it.”

Anna: After reading the responses, I think that the red denim trend is hit or miss, you have to have the right look and personality to pull them off.  I think if you’re comfortable and feel good with the style, go for it.  I do get the impression that red denim is a call for attention, or an aggressive statement, of what I’m not sure.  Keep it simple and you are golden.

Braeden: With the aim of avoiding being mistaken for an aggressive smartie, tomato, stop sign, or Rubik’s cube, I think I’ve concluded to never wear red denim.  I have no further comments… except if anyone has seen an H&M receipt for red denim overalls, could you please return it to me?   I’d be curious to see how much losers are paying for those things these days…

Daniyel: Alright, I guess red denim is something I can make peace with, as long as you’re not a jerk about it.  I.e., don’t stand in the middle of a street with your hands on your waist expecting your red denim jeans to do the talking.  They can be a statement, but ultimately, the wearer has to back that statement up.  Why are you in the middle of the street?  Are you going to bust up some windows?  Regardless, confidence is the key and remember to be aggressive.  Be-be aggressive?

Michelle: Well, I’m surprised by how much I agree with most of the other panelist’s answers, here I thought I was living In a red denim loving world, and I was the lone wolf on the side.  I am glad it’s not true!  To wrap up I must admit that red is my absolute favourite colour in the world.  I love it, and you will often see me in a red scarf, with red gloves, driving in my red car, listening to T Swifts new album “Red” (wow, I am really obsessed with Taylor).  But, like Anna said, there is such a thing as “too much of a good thing” and red is one of them.  Yes, I would love one red accent wall in my house but it’s just not one of those colours you would paint a whole room.  In the same vain, red may be a good accent colour for an outfit, but it tends to just go over board when it comes to red denim.

Irving: First I would like to thank, all of our panelists for contributing to our first Best of Seven Series.  I will keep my responses short and snappy.
Little known fact, Aimen loves MercyI take full credit for exposing her to rap music and am proud of the fact she can rap portions of You See Me.  Also, Aimen leave Brandon Knight alone.  He’s had enough trauma.
I enjoy how Anna compared bad red denim styles as tomatoes and Rubik’s Cubes.  I will be stealing this for future people watching purposes at the bar this summer.  Since she gave a shout out to my fictional BFF Joseph Gordon Levitt, I feel this list should be enjoyed by all.
Dear Braeden, please stop sharing the secret psychology behind red denim.  Signed, boy who wears red skinny jeans.
Add Kool-Aid man to the list of things I will be saying when people watching in the summer.  This line: “I’d have them give everyone in the audience the finger while they walked down the catwalk.”  I’m not sure if this would make fashion shows worse or better.  I’m leaning towards better.
Michelle hates everything red denim.  No joke she told me I couldn’t pull off red jeans.  Next time I see her in the summer I’m wearing them.  She may or may not tell me, “Friends off,” when this happens.
Nicole I am the 0.001%.  That is all.

Nicole: Turns out, red denim is beyond controversial, and is basically a teeny peek hole into major social functions.  Like, who knew red cotton twill textile could spark such passion, rage, and extreme happiness?  Thank you brilliant panelists, for teaching me how those red warp and weft threads woven together are such a mega big deal.  I’m starting to totally buy into Braeden’s theory of the intense psychology behind red denim.  Red denim is major.  It’s probably related to the stock market, obesity, anti-ageing creams, how many babies are made, access to fresh produce, human happiness, new nail polish colors, world peace – and, Michelle, I couldn’t agree more; I can’t wait to see the Pope in red denim.

Irving Chong (@Irving_Chong) and Nicole (@_nicoliooo) are co-creators of This is Why we Can’t Have Nice Things even though it doesn’t make sense why they’re friends.


One thought on “Best of Seven Series: Red Denim

  1. We Aren’t Any Closer to Having Nice Things: 50 – This is Why we Can't Have Nice Things

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