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Once upon a time, butt-emblazoned designer jeans from Rock & Republic were all the rage among celebrities and those that wanted to dress like them. Back then, nobody seemed to mind paying a few hundos for something that now, most consider to be kind of tacky. And then, all of a sudden, nondescript denim took over. There was no blatant logo on J Brands, just some familiar stitching. True Religion stores were soon flooded mostly with youngsters who probably shouldn't be attracting so much attention to their butts.
As for Rock & Republic, they've just released a new campaign video—but these aren't the same jeans you knew and loved in the aughts. It turns out the brand filed for bankruptcy in 2011, and later in the year, it sold its trademark and intellectual property. Last April, it signed a long-term licensing deal with Kohl's Corporation and now, in a final sign of the times, a Google search for Rock & Republic no longer pulls up the brand's original website. Instead, you get a link for Rock & Republic Jeans & Apparel at Kohl's.
So blinged-out denim is officially dead, but what has happened to the other brands that pioneered the trend in all its bedazzled glory? We stumbled upon WWD's list of the most Googled denim brands from April, 2006. Not surprisingly, some of them are still on the same trend-focused path that they were on ten years ago. This includes True Religion Jeans (which came in at #1), Diesel (#3), Guess? (#4), and Seven For All Mankind (#7). Others from the list have changed their brand identity entirely, and some have faded into oblivion. After the jump are four jeans we probably owned and apparently googled in the mid-2000s, and thought worthy of further investigation.
Kohl's / Rock & Republic Fashion Video
Levi's: Let's start with the most obvious, shall we? In case you've been under a rock for the past ten years or have some sort of allergy to denim, then you know that Levi's is no longer just your dad's 501s. The brand has gotten super cool within the past few years—cool enough that they were even able to discontinue certain styles and replace them with something entirely new: Levi's Made & Crafted. Now, you'd be pressed to find a handyman or a hipster who doesn't own a pair or two. In other news, the brand came under fire recently for promoting their Curve ID line with the slogan: "Hotness Comes in All Sizes." The models they chose, however, were all mostly the same size: thin.
A Von Dutch ad, which, according to publicity21/Flickr, is from 2010
Von Dutch: Thanks to Ashton Kutcher, Von Dutch was everywhere for a total of two or three minutes. Currently, the brand's website reads more like a PowerPoint pres release, and is dedicated, initially, to educating people on Kenneth Howard: "A rebel icon & legendary artists known the world over as Von Dutch." One of the slides declares: "The Von Dutch Brand Lives On." Another that follows warns, "Keep an Eye Out for Von Dutch." So, it must be on some kind of hiatus, or taking a nap or something, but it'll BRB real soon, guys. Don't worry.
Lucky Brand's latest campaign for spring 2012
Lucky Brand: Remember when Lucky Brand's big thing was low-rise flares, they were really into anything from the '70s, and the big schtick was the "Lucky You" flies? Well, some of that is still happening, but the brand has recently undergone a pretty big revamp. They've ventured outside of their signature hippie-dippity doo-da, and now carry denim styles and trends from all decades. There are '50s style, roll-up cuff skinny jeans, '40s-style florals, and—something important for any and every generation—super stretchy denim. In December of 2011, they also fitted 27 fashion editors with about five pairs of jeans each—a student recognized throughout the entire blogosphere.
Apple Bottoms: The Apple Bottom website is still alive and well, though it appears that fall/winter 2010 was the brand's last ad campaign. (Which of course, Nelly starred in.) Back in 2003 when the brand was founded, Nelly and pals hosted a show on called "The Apple Bottom Girl" on VH-1, so that they could find the perfect apple bottom to model their jeans. Today, the site's e-commerce is through DrJays.com, and you can buy things like mesh printed leggings, hoodie dresses, and of course, elaborately decorated jeans. Though their reputation may have waned a bit, the Apple Bottom infamy will live on forever, even if it's only on the Flo Rida Pandora station.
So where does that leave us now? While denim styles have certainly changed, the concept of pushing trendy for the sake of trendy certainly has not. You'd be hard pressed to walk into any retailer that sells denim this season and not be blinded by brightly colored, or even downright neon, denim. And just a mere few seasons ago, it was impossible to avoid slouchy jeans, skinny jeans, and the slouchy-skinny hybrid. Then, there were jeggings. But soon, those trends will be over too. Perhaps all we can really hope for is a B-level rapper who feels so inspired by jeggings that he goes and makes up a pointless-yet-catchy song about them, so that we always remember their place in our lives back in 2011.
· All denim coverage [Racked]