I first fell in love when I was eight. Before you start getting any strange ideas, the object of my desires was, actually, a pair of dark blue denim overalls. They were knee length, with an illustration of the animated cat Garfield etched across the left thigh- and fit me perfectly. It was always a source of turmoil to be parted from them and put into the formal slacks my mother preferred. Left to my own devices, I would always reach for the denim, and, ever since a pair of jeans have formed the basis of my wardrobe. Throughout its lengthy and illustrious history, denim has had some truly iconic moments, not all of them good, adorning pop culture culture gods and goddesses. I decided to recreate some of my faves with my faves:

James Dean in Rebel without a Cause (1995)

James Dean appears on his motorcycle in a cloud of dust, the wind playing with his pompadoured hair, the sun glinting on his Ray-Bans, cigarette dangling from his lips, blue Levi’s 501s clinging to his firm… Yes, it’s a moment we all remember in Rebel without a Cause, the part where Dean solidified his status as a bonafide sex symbol. Suddenly 501s were selling out everywhere. Parents were outraged; kids were empowered and all because of a pair of jeans that were a little too snug.

Kriss Kross (1992)

Kriss Kross may have been a one-hit wonder, but the duos back to front approach to denim definitely goes down in history as one of the best youthful rebellion or maybe the worst hip hop decision ever, right up there with MC Hammer’s pants. Ok, nothing is as bad as Hammer pants. However you view it, Mac Daddy and Daddy Mac made teenagers think that wearing jeans backwards was a good look in the 90s to every parent’s horror.

IG: @obakengchabanga and @puisanosane

Kate Moss and Mark Wahlberg (1992)

The 90s ushered in a new aesthetic: the waif, and Kate Moss was the poster child for it. Her look, christened “heroin chic” and earned her a Calvin Klein campaign alongside Mark Wahlberg, who was then in his rap phase and known as ‘Marky Mark’. The image is beyond iconic: the focus is purely on the jeans and the way they hang off their hips. Wahlberg’s rippling biceps and overt masculinity further accentuates Moss’s diminutive figure as she looks over her shoulder with a doe-eyed expression that would make even the hardest melt.

@kalangagoddess and @presideinty

Sade Adu (1985)

Double denim, hoops, red lips, gold jewelry, braided ponytail, the pose; minimal and effortless. It is almost hard to believe that this is a moment from the late 80s. Sade Adu has graced the world with her soulful sultry music aswell as her beauty. Her influence in pop culture not only resonates through music but in fashion. The magnitude of her signature oversized golden hoop earrings; red lips and long ponytail have broken the style barriers of time and continues to be revitalized in fashion.

IG: @nolliengwira

Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears (2001)

I seldom ponder to myself what was going through their stylist’s mind that day. Perhaps his or her dog died, or their husband cheated, or perhaps the waitress got their Starbucks order wrong. In any case, there must have been some tragedy that made said stylist (who wisely remains unidentified) dress two of the biggest pop stars at the time, in possibly the worst matching outfits of all time. Britney in her floor length, strapless stonewashed denim monstrosity of a dress and never to be upstaged, Justin went one better with a Texas farmer-moonlighting-as-a-pimp-look. A double denim suit topped with a fedora. The worst/best part of this whole thing is that theyre smiling on the red carpet, thinking they’ve just taken this fashion risk and came out swinging.

IG: @rumbim and IG: @Tanlume

Photography by @Tanlume

Styling by Nollie Ngwira: IG @nostalgiandcloth