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Denim Desires: Sure they make your butt look good...

but are jeans really worth an entire paycheck?

 by Mani O'Brien
 published on Thursday, September 8, 2005


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When Nikki Jones first opened her boutique Urban Angels (699 S. Mill Ave., #112) four years ago, she never expected she would one day trade in the $45-65 Mavi jeans she carried for designer denim selling for more than $150. But today, "premium" or designer labels are in demand from her college student clientele. Jones says she often sells out completely of her $280 denim.

"Every day it amazes me," she says of the amount of money spent on designer denim. "But you can either buy five tops you kind of like or jeans that you love and that fit you right. It's definitely an investment."

The passion among ASU students for designer jeans is no secret. Looking around campus, labels like Seven for All Mankind, Citizens of Humanity, True Religion, Frankie B and Diesel are marked by distinctive stitching across the backside to distinguish themselves from the Levi's 501s of the past.

While students are known to scrounge every last penny for a decent meal, it's a wonder how they manage to get the cash to fund such a high-priced commodity. Jones says that most of her customers spend Sun Dollars or their parents' money.

"They're not necessarily girls with jobs," she says.

However, not all students are depleting their parents' checking accounts. Samantha Angell, a communications senior, says her mom won't buy her premium jeans, so she spends her own money.

"It's hard to find jeans that fit me right," she says. "It's so worth it, because they just fit so well."

Over the last year, premium jeans have blown into a fashion trend thanks to celebrities like Gwenyth Paltrow, Halle Berry, J. Lo, and Jessica Simpson, declaring their love for all things Blue Cult or Seven. It's a wonder whether the money spent on these jeans is worthwhile investment, or money blown on a short-term fad.

Jones says that her business would definitely hurt if celebrities stopped wearing designer denim.

Alex Defalco, a business sophomore, disagrees with the idea that designer jeans are a fading trend.

"Self image is very big now, especially in teens," Defalco says. "It's all they have as long as you wear something reputable. It's sad, but that's just how society is."

Defalco currently owns more than 20 pairs of denim, including one pair of designer denim by Gucci.

"I'm not saying $150 isn't expensive for a pair of jeans, it's ridiculous," says Defalco, who works in real estate. "But I can afford it, so it's OK. They're hot, they look good."

Reach the reporter at mani.obrien@asu.edu.



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