Blue jeans in song

From lowly miner’s pants to worldwide recognition: Denim rules

Delma J. Francis, Star Tribune

Denim’s influence on popular culture is impossible to ignore. If you need a denim fix in the Twin Cities, you don’t have to go far to find it.

In clothing, you’ll find something denim to cover you from head to toe: caps, shirts (dress and casual, embroidered, beaded and sequined), skirts, shorts, trench coats and shoes. You can even sandblast your favorite designs into your jeans. In funky teen and tween stores, denim is sometimes found in combination with tonier fabrics such as velvet. But you don’t have to wear it to enjoy it. There are songs and a book about blue jeans. There’s denim-covered furniture in several local stores, and even a charitable-giving campaign based on a jeans theme.

Here are a few examples of denim’s influence:

Alice Harris’ book “The Blue Jean”Denim designs

Kerry Dikken of Blast This in Southdale Shopping Center sandblasts designs onto denim that won’t fade or wash away. Bring in your own denims, choose your design (such as a picture of a loved one or your favorite hero) and Dikken usually can transform your clothing while you wait. The cost: $19 to about $100. Some intricate designs cost more. For more information, call Dikken at 952-922-2446.


Jeans from Blast This in SouthdaleBlast ThisMany furniture stores carry denim-covered chairs and sofas, and according to Renae Rogers, floor designer at Marshall Field’s in downtown Minneapolis, they are popular with the younger crowd. “Teens absolutely love it. Parents say, ‘Yes, it’s cute, but we don’t want to invest in cute,’ ” Rogers said. Marshall Field’s is phasing out its denim sofas, but denim furniture is still out there if you look — at Gabbert’s, Hom Furniture and Wickes Furniture, for instance. For a denim upholstery look at a much lower price, furniture slipcovers for as little as $50 are sold at stores including Sears, Target and Linens ‘n Things.

Coffee table book

“The Blue Jean” is Alice Harris’ compilation of photographs whose images range from denim working garb to couture, worn by the famous and the infamous (powerHouse Books, $35). All author royalties benefit the VH1 Save the Music Foundation, which works to restore music programs in public schools.

Blue Jeans for Babies

A continuing March of Dimes charitable-giving campaign is conducted either in the fall by corporations or as part of a company’s Walk America campaign. Blue Jeans for Babies allows employees to “dress down” (in jeans, of course) at work for a day or week by purchasing a sticker, button or T-shirt to benefit the March of Dimes. The latest appeal is sent on a card resembling a denim pocket. For more information, call 952-835-3033.

Blue jeans in song

Perhaps the best-known blue jeans song is Neil Diamond’s, “Forever in Blue Jeans.” But other songs pay tribute, too, including Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” (“Blue jean baby, L.A. lady, seamstress for the band”), “Sundown,” by Gordon Lightfoot (“I can see her lookin’ fast in her faded jeans”) and Kris Kristofferson’s “Me & Bobby McGee,” (“I was feelin’ nearly faded as my jeans.”).

Delma J. Francis is at


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