BY KRISTEN BIALIK
“Once in a great while, a natural phenomenon occurs that is so beautiful, so dramatic, it overshadows everything else. Sergio Valente has created a phenomenon the whole world will be watching: Sergio Valente black denim jeans. They’re more than beautiful. They’re out of sight.” This is the narration for a Sergio Valente denim ad in the jeans collection. The voiceover is so deeply impassioned. The slowly-revolving pan shots around a backlit, denim-clad behind are so intensified. The tight shots of tight asses are so all encompassing. The ad is dramatic to the point that it must be hyperbole. But you can tell that it’s actually in earnest. And the funny thing is that behind the inflated language, there’s a grain of truth to the ad. Jeans have become an unstoppable phenomenon in the world of fashion and apparel. The ubiquity of jeans has become so universal that they are almost hidden in plain view. The phenomenon really is "out of sight."
Anthropologists Daniel Miller and Sophie Woodward of the Global Denim Project consider the global denim phenomenon a perfect example of the “blindingly obvious.” The sheer scale of denim’s presence has made us take that presence for granted. In Miller and Woodward’s estimation, in the majority of countries in the world, the majority of people on any given day are wearing jeans. With the exception of rural areas in China and South Asia, Miller found that when he stopped and counted the first 100 people to walk by, about 50 percent of the population wore jeans everywhere from Brazil to India, from Turkey to the