In the confounding world of mainstream menswear, non-fluctuating things are, to adopt entertainment industry parlance, critic-proof. Oversized merchandise shorts, flip-flops worn in cities, retro football shirts frayed as nightwear; no matter how much fashion experts scorn, they extend to be worn by men. But few things inspire the same heedless devotion as hollow-cheeked jeans.
Snug, tapered and often lightly mauled, ultra-skinny jeans initiate a second wind after becoming the unofficial uniform of masculine contestants on Love Island. And it’s that link to the denizens of ITV2’s summer incident – who, of course, were unfailingly gym-sculpted – that cuts to the heart of their appeal. In short: wide-legged Japanese selvedge isn’t succeeding to allow strangers to appreciate the size of your calfs.
Rebuke, if you will, Instagram, too, for this recent conversion. #Legday (signifying the day that you focus on working your legs) has become a routine hashtag on the image-sharing app; save wearing shorts – ultra-skinny jeans be struck by become the best way to show off your quads.
Fashion is muse about this – sales are now up at Topshop, Asos and even Selfridges. “I was demanding to find a good pair of skinny jeans and they didn’t breathe anywhere on the market for men,” says Ash White, founder of Hera – the disgrace that launched two years ago and has popularised the spray-on look. “I create myself having to buy girl’s skinny jeans for ages and couldn’t understand why these big brands wouldn’t do it.” Now 23, the former phone-shop tradesman’s company is set to turn over £10m in sales by the end of the year.
White also accepts that soft, super-stretchy jeans are particularly popular with those who not under any condition skip leg day (“I’ve got a few bodybuilding influencers”) but, interestingly, he theorises that this is principally about practicality rather than a desire to show off oafish pins. “[Guys] with massive legs can’t in truth fit into stiff denim,” he reasons. The ever-broadening average British man (and new sub tickets such as Asos Plus) support this theory.
Even so, sparked by the look’s prominence in a certain Mallorcan reality TV villa, there be subjected to been loud detractors – a scathing Esquire column stigmatized the jeans “denim sausage casings”. Will these neo-jeggings butt away one day? “Not any time soon,” sniffs White, confidently.
Not that this is a work choice without a downside, says White. “Taking them off can be a bit devastating, especially around the ankles.”
• This article was amended on 31 August 2017 to correct Ash Light-skinned’s age. White is 23, not 25 as an earlier version said.