Prior to the fall the USSR and pretty much most of communism, Levi jeans were a highly coveted black market item. At this time the asking price for Levi 501's in the United States were $20-40 dollars, but in the USSR a pair could fetch for $400-500 dollars. A bottle of vodka cost $7, the average worker made $200 a month, and a Soviet made car went for $5800= equaling to a dozen pairs of Levis. Although slightly ironic, jeans were originally devised as working class apparel and seen as a uniform for farmers and miners in the US, in contrast Levis' were re-appropriated by Russia seen as an iconic hierarchical fashion symbol as well as a way to revolt against the establishment, communism's anti-capitalism and socialistic tenancies. Levis represented a yearning to be part of the upper echelon and as way of standing-out from the faux pas. Levis jeans were a class and status symbol.
Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union 1991, Russia acquired its very own Levi Strauss store. Hundreds gathered on February 20, 1993 at Levi's opening in Moscow's Central Department Store near the Bolshoi Theater.upgrade your Walmart wear today,
In honor of the 2014 Winter Olympics hosted in Sochi, Russia, it would only be appropriate to discuss the latest innovation to happen to denim jeans. Pajama Jeans! It's too bad neither Levi Strauss nor Pajama Jean were invited to design the US's uniform. Instead, the bid went yet again to Ralph Lauren; surprising given the 2012 Summer Olympics' "made in china" controversy. But like Lauren's repulsive Winter Olympic sweat pants, Pajama Jean has fully embraced America's tenacity for laziness with "Pajamas you live in, the Jeans you sleep in." With the "looks like denim, feels like PJs" appeal, you can own a pair for a mere $40, the same price as an actual pair of jeans. But with the added incentive of turning your hands, legs, and sheets blue; who can resist! Forget the authentic Canadian or Mexican Tuxedo, try the Pajama Jean Tux. You may already have a denim or jean version of everything, including underwear, wallpaper, and fingernail polish; so why shouldn't you have Pajama Jeans? So forget etiquette and your conscience, society just granted you permission to wear your PJs to the grocery store, not only so they can judge you but purely for sheer entertainment.
100 Objects of Popular and Material Culture is an blog exploring the manifestations of human consumption and commodity-ization. The purpose of this experiment is to explore material and popular culture in contemporary society by using objects and concepts to prompt wider questions and reflections. So by emulating The British Museum's and Neil MacGregor's format of A History of the World in 100 Objects I plan to satirically analyze and reinterpreted 100 material culture objects over the course of 2014. Material Culture is the study of our culture's consumption of stuff; namely the manifestation of culture through material productions where people's perceptions of objects is socially and culturally dependent. With this, objects reflect conscious and unconscious beliefs on the the individuals who fabricated, purchased, or used them, and by extension the society where they live. So examining materiality, cultural truths and societal assumptions may be discovered. As anthropologist Arjun Appaduai states "in any society the individual is often caught between the cultural structure of commodity-ization and his own personal attempts to bring a value and order to the universe of things." Objects and commodities make up a much larger symbolic system consisting of want and need, socio-economic status, fashion, etc. Often times form follows function whether the commodity, market, and or consumer forever evolve around one-another. Philosopher Pierre Bourdieu's theories of capital flow full circle; where regardless if you are a minimalist or a hoarder the world is made up of things and everyone will leave their footprint on the earth. So by humorously analyzing marketed objects and concepts, hopefully this blog will provide further incite into ideas of over-consumption, a disposable society, consumerism vs. anti-consumers, planned obsolescence vs. sustainability, as well as the greater good of mankind and future generations.