Watch Blue Gold: American Jeans
- 1 hr 38 min
Blue Gold: American Jeans is a documentary film that explores the history and cultural impact of one of America's most iconic clothing items: blue jeans. Directed by Christian D. Bruun and narrated by Edward Burns, the film takes viewers on a journey from the origins of denim in the late 1800s to the present day, examining the ways in which jeans have come to embody American ideals of innovation, individualism, and freedom.
The film begins by delving into the history of denim, which was originally developed as a sturdy material for workwear. Through interviews with industry experts like Adriano Goldschmied, a designer credited with pioneering the use of stretch materials in jeans, and Eric Schrader, co-author of the book "Blue Blooded: Denim Hunters and Jeans Culture," the film traces the evolution of denim from its humble origins as a utilitarian fabric to its current status as a global fashion staple.
As the story unfolds, viewers are introduced to a diverse cast of characters, including fashion designers, manufacturers, and collectors, each of whom has a unique relationship with denim. Some, like Goldschmied, are passionate about pushing the boundaries of what denim can be, experimenting with new fabrics and washes. Others, like vintage denim collectors and curators, are more interested in preserving the history and legacy of the material, tracking down rare jeans from bygone eras and sharing their knowledge with others.
Throughout the film, the theme of cultural appropriation emerges as a recurrent theme, as the filmmakers examine the ways in which denim has been appropriated and remixed by various subcultures over the years. From the rebellious youth of the 1950s to the counterculture movements of the 1960s and 70s, jeans have been adopted by different groups as a symbol of their individualism and nonconformity. The film acknowledges the significant influence that African American culture has had on the popularity of denim, from early jazz musicians sporting denim jackets to hip hop artists of the 1980s and 90s wearing baggy jeans and oversized denim jackets.
Despite its prevalence in the global fashion industry, the film also acknowledges the problematic aspects of denim production, including the environmental impact of denim production and the exploitation of workers in developing countries. Several experts are interviewed about the need for more sustainable and ethical production methods, and the film ends on a note of hope as it explores innovative solutions, such as using recycled denim fibers and developing more eco-friendly dyeing and finishing techniques.
Overall, Blue Gold: American Jeans is an informative and engaging documentary that offers a fresh look at one of America's most beloved and iconic clothing items. With its mix of historical anecdotes, personal stories, and social commentary, the film offers a nuanced and thought-provoking exploration of denim's enduring appeal and influence.
Blue Gold: American Jeans is a 2014 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 38 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.9.