JNCO and Brand Identity

JNCO and Brand Identity

Photo by JNCO.

These days, the creative world isn’t really one to let sleeping dogs lie. Movie sequels in the double digits, touring holograms of long-passed musicians, and other forms of continuous content can make it feel like no art will ever have a succinct end. (Ask a friend if they saw Fast and Furious 10 or Mission Impossible 7…Chances are that they didn’t.) Washing, rinsing, and repeating of art makes it predictable, and a little less exciting than the last time it came around. This concept has sparked debate amongst film critics, culturists, and writers of how it is justifiable to spend $340 million on a plot that everyone’s already seen…nine times before. 

This “more of the same” rhetoric rings true for fashion as well, and has driven many individuals to seek the unique through indie brands and vintage. Today, we're talking about JNCO brand's revival last month and why we’re excited. To derail for the sake of any readers unfamiliar with JNCO, let’s get a history lesson started.

JNCO, which stands for "Judge None Choose One," was a denim and streetwear brand that gained popularity in the 1990s. The brand was known for producing wide-legged, baggy jeans with elaborate and often unconventional designs. JNCO jeans were known for their extremely wide leg openings, which could be as wide as 32 inches or more. For perspective, these jeans hung so wide and low you could sweep the sidewalk with them. The edges would become shredded and raw, which made the overall look that much edgier.

JNCO were often associated with the rave, skateboard, and alt scenes of the 1990s. Levi 501’s were the mainstream jean of the time, and JNCO offered a wild style alternative.They became a symbol of the counterculture, and their exaggerated aesthetic was embraced by the younger generation who wanted to make a statement with their clothing.

JNCO jeans are recognizable from a mile away with oversized pockets, intricate embroidery, and bold graphic designs on the back pockets. The brand also designed t-shirts, hoodies, and other streetwear apparel.

While JNCO enjoyed a moment in the sun during the 1990s, their extremely unique style eventually fell out of fashion. By the early 2000s, the popularity of skinny jeans and different fashion trends caused JNCO's popularity to wane. The company had been pigeonholed into the hit item they once had, struggled to maintain its market presence, and eventually went out of business.Today, authentic JNCO jeans were (and still are) one of the hottest commodities of vintage resale. 

But as of July 2023, resellers of the nostalgia-driven JNCO jeans are in trouble. The eponymous 90’s cult brand is back, OG JNCO’s have reentered the market, and the vibe is immaculate. The JNCO instagram account has been quietly posting editorials that are both contemporary, edgy, and perfectly original.

Nostalgia has an interesting effect on fashion, especially in an era when, more often than not, we can have any style at our fingertips. Most run-of-the-mill items can be found pretty easily. JNCO presents an interesting case study as a moment in time right before the common internet age. When you think about it in the lens of today, the JNCO’s were a viral moment before a viral moment was really a thing. They fell out of trending style just before the common use of social media - just old enough to be out of trend, and too new to be considered true “vintage”.

The JNCO jean stands completely on its own as a true slice of culture. It’s kind of strange to think of how strong the design has stood the test of time, with minimal attempts at recreation or copying by other designers. Fashion rip offs are notorious, and most of the popular silhouettes of decades past get remade or reintroduced after time, even as recent as y2k and late 2000’s…but no one has been so bold to attempt the JNCO yet? You gotta admit, it’s surprising the silhouette hasn’t popped up in a viral moment by now. 

Always the undercurrent, we hope the JNCO jean is here to stay this time. Wide-leg pants are IN, and we want to see this iconic denim look hit the streets more. It is exciting that the original brand has stayed true to its roots in design and hasn’t tried to rebrand to fit the mold. 

What do you think of the JNCO jean? What are some other iconic fashions of the past that have kept it real? Follow us on Instagram @thisstylefiles to join our conversation and let us know what you think!

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