Ian Berry hand made ‘Denim Legends’ portraits entirely in jeans

Clint eastwood

Jeans have a long history in fashion, but they haven’t always been seen as fashionable or even acceptable clothing to wear as a respectable member of society. Originally, denim was used in outfits designed for working class people, as evidenced by 17th century paintings from northern Italy. So how did jeans become so mainstream and even fashionable? London based artist Ian berry attributes this to style icons over the past century. In a well-titled series—Legends of jeans– the artist explores who these avant-garde figures are and even asks clearly, Who is your Denim Legend?

“A denim legend for me personally,” Berry told My Modern Met, “is someone who by wearing denim – or wearing it in a different way – has made a movement for thousands and millions of people. people to “copy.” It’s hard for many of us to imagine a time when jeans weren’t a wardrobe staple, but people like James Dean, Marlon Brando, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe, while wearing it, set off a spark that meant that we would all be today.That’s quite something.

As a sturdy material, denim turned out to be the textile of choice for hard workers, such as farm laborers and railroad workers, but as Berry puts it, people like James Dean in the 1950s changed the material’s narrative. . He turned jeans into a fashion statement. Wearing jeans was now equated with “being cool” or even a “bad boy”. In the 1970s, jeans with elephant legs were all the rage; in the 1980s, denim was a staple of the punk and hip hop revolutions; and in the ’90s, ripped jeans dominated the grunge aesthetic.

“There can be a lot of people today known to wear jeans or to have a specific denim look,” says Berry. “While they may inspire some people to copy them, the majority already wore jeans. Yes, they can be legends and maybe time will judge them as such, but I’m interested in the people who made this rural working garment the material of the urban street.

Denim Legends Portrait of Madonna


For Legends of jeans, Berry presents some sixty portraits entirely made in denim. Each creation is an expertly crafted fusion of various hues of denim, resulting in a realistic, albeit filtered in blue, portrayal of a pop culture denim influencer. Berry unveils each piece, one by one, and even asks the audience for their opinion. The final icon will be determined by a democratic process, i.e. online voting. The only catch is that he’s removed four icons from the race because they’re “obvious and still documented” – Dean, Brando, Monroe and Elvis – and he’s looking to get a wider range of names. .

If you have a denim legend or a few icons in mind, you can submit your selection (s) via this online form. The series will continue to be unveiled online, but the public will also be able to see Legends of jeans in person. The series will be presented as part of Berry’s Material world expose to Textile Museum in Sweden, from October 23, 2021 to May 1, 2022.

If you want to learn more about Berry’s creative process and how he transforms denim, listen to his episode on the My Modern Met Top Artist podcast.

Artist Ian Berry is known for working exclusively in denim, turning the rugged material into artistic portraits.

Denim Legends Portrait of Bob Marley

Bob marley

In his latest series entitled Legends of jeans, the artist explores the fashion icons that made denim what it is today, a mainstream material that almost everyone owns and wears.

Denim Legends Portrait of Brooke Shields

Brooke Shields

Denim Legends Portrait of John Wayne

John wayne

From cowboys to models, many stylish influencers have helped make jeans fashionable.

Jean Legends Portrait of

Steve mcqueen

So now Berry is now asking the audience: Who is your Denim Legend?

Denim Legends Portrait of Miles Davis

Miles davis

Denim Legends Portrait of Gene Autry

Gene Autry

You can submit your response in line.

Denim Legends Portrait of Gina Lollobrigida

Gina Lollobrigida

Denim Legends Portrait of Gary Cooper

Gary Cooper

Legends of Jeans by Ian BerryIan Berry: Website | Instagram | Facebook

My Modern Met has granted permission to show photos of Ian Berry.

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