Jeans for a developed socialism, or How was the fabric tempered?
In the era of developed socialism (1971−1991) the deficit was just total. He faithfully served the party in keeping people in obedience. “Make love, not war,” the hippies called in America, while the Russians could say: “Get the deficit, and not go into your business.” And we mined, who as he could. Some have established connections with the right people in all sorts of distributors of life benefits, others have tried to “make money” in order to shop on the black market. The symbol and measure of the deficit were, of course, jeans. They, unlike other scarce goods, for example, women’s boots, never “thrown” into the free market. It was impossible to enroll in any queue “for jeans”, as happened with cars or apartments. Even in the shops “Birch”, trading in currency, there were only some unfinished whether French or Belgian jeans “Convaire.” But the people respected only three “firms”: Lee, Wrangler and, of course, Lewis. There was another polrang lower than some kind of Lee Cooper. No other firms recognized. These were harsh and ascetic times when there were two types of beer: “there is beer” and “there is no beer”; cheese of three varieties: Russian, Dutch and Poshekhonsky; white and black bread. More than three varieties of jeans, our psyche could not stand. It is still not clear where they came from in the country, these jeans. Travel abroad was blocked almost tightly, both by the number of “exit” and by the number of goods allowed to be imported. And yet, many wore jeans. And on the flea market they could be bought almost always. It limited only the price: at the beginning of the described period, the monthly salary of an engineer, in the middle – one and a half or two salaries. I must say that jeans were not valued by current criteria. Nobody would look at modern jeans from Gucci. There were no “varenok”, no frills and labels in the amount of ten pieces. All this came later, as well as the shameful word “LivAys” launched by some “experts” of the English language. At the height of the chic were zippers on the back pockets. Jeans were a dark blue “indigo” color, had to “stand in the corner,” that is, be sewn of hard, like cardboard, fabric, and had to be “sawed”, that is, wiped in the process of socks, acquiring a magical blue shade. Worn them for the first time often wet and with soap. Having dried on the body of the owner, they took the right size. Walking in new jeans was a torment. But it was sweet torment, because everyone looked at you with envy and approval at the same time. Any girl was yours – this, and still the constant pressure of coarse tissue on the genitals, largely explains the positive dynamics of population growth in those, in general, meager years. The one who did not have jeans, was a man of the second grade. In a pinch, you had to have jeans Indian (Milton), Polish or Czechoslovak. True, they did not “sawed” and did not stand in the corner, and while walking shamefully fluttered their lower legs. They were starched, but it did not help; gave out the color, albeit blue, but some kind of grayish. But our talented people learned how to produce jeans, which in ten steps could not be distinguished from real ones. The technology of this production is worthy of a detailed description. First, the fabric. In the shops, a rag sold freely under the mocking article “denim”, by the way, is very cheap. Denim she had only weaving threads. Neither in color nor in density, she had nothing to do with the noble “denim.” But this fabric was cut into pieces of three meters (as needed on some jeans), dyed with aniline dyes (blue or electric) in a large tank, washed well and smoothed carefully. The resulting piece is very reminiscent of the color of new American jeans. The only difference is the wrong side of the same color as the face, whereas for branded jeans the wrong side is light. Secondly, jeans were sewn from the obtained fabric, carefully observing and copying all the numerous features of American consumer goods: double seams, brick-colored threads (the threads were also dyed, since the right color was not available). Labels, buttons and rivets were bought on the market in Malakhovka, where local craftsmen learned something. No one attempted to falsify the specific firms of the Big Three, the difference would be too obvious. Each “self-made man” created something of his own, depending on what accessories he could get. It turned out like jeans in general. Third, ready-made pants had to be soaked so that they would “stand.” I suspect that the impregnation recipes were also different, but most often it was rosin. It was dissolved in acetone (gasoline left a strong smell, but gasoline was also used) and the product was immersed in the solution. Then, without pressing, allowed to drain and dried in fresh air. After a day or two, there was only a faint pleasant smell of rosin, and the finished “jeans” did not flare, but moved in a single monolith with the foot. Bought an entry. Often sewed to order, so that about any deception of speech was not, and the buyer knew that he takes “samopal.”