This week denim designer PRPS came out with a pair of pre-muddied jeans for $425, describing them as a “mud splatter denim jean with brown paint technique, for a loved and lived in look.” On Nordstrom’s website, they’re described as “Americana workwear that’s seen some hard-working action with a crackled, caked-on muddy coating that shows you’re not afraid to get down and dirty.”
The backlash was swift and the judgment just. Mike Rowe, the host of Dirty Jobs, weighed in, calling them a costume for wealthy people who see work as ironic.
On Thursday Reebok responded by posting a new product to its website: the Reebok Authentic Sweat Shirt — also retailing for $425. The description’s barely veiled references include “authentic sweat for those who don’t have time to put in the real work,” and “accurate placement of stains created by sweaty employees after workout for maximum visibility.” The shirt, unless Reebok really commits to the joke, will likely stay sold out for as long as they keep the page live. But the message is clear: Those jeans are dumb.
There’s probably something deeper here, about how mud-caked jeans and pitted-out workout shirts selling for a ludicrous price are both fetishizing and capitalizing on hard work and cheapen the effort of people doing it for real. But instead of going into that, let’s just say Reebok’s is a solid spoof on a stupid product, and leave it there.