Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Jeans, Vintage Photo Contest

In the picture is captured my father, it dates 1978. The shot was done in St. Petersburg (Russia). A few years ago, while looking through
family photo albums i found this picture of my father and asked him to tell me something about it. He told me a little story about the jeans
he is pictured in. As it was a Soviet Union (USSR) times a lot of things were banned and jeans were not an exception. My father told me
that jeans were shipped from outside the USSR countries by marines and sold on the ?Black Market?. The price of the jeans my father is
wearing in the picture was $250, when his salary, during that period, was $280 a month. I always feel excited listening to my parent’s
memories about this non-repeatable period of time, and it really amazes me how people with such a modest resources managed to be


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  1. Anonymous

    March 28, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    He is right, thats the childhood of my parents).
    But not only import things were interesting in style reason, Soviet has many interesting things too)

  2. WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot

    March 28, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    This is great! Reminds me of my dad's stories of getting to know American soldiers stationed in Berlin in the 50s and thus being able to purchase Levis through the PX. Oh, the glamour of American jeans!

  3. Beverly Bohan

    March 28, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    What a dashing and rockin' man. Rebel-Without-a-Cause-esque.

  4. jessica whitley

    March 28, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    i LOVE this

  5. Style Scanner

    March 28, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    I love the irony of 'workwear' becoming this desirable and valuable as 'fashion'. True street style.

  6. RR

    March 28, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    i love rule breakers. amazing.

  7. Nedda Ebo

    March 28, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    Wow, beautiful story and beautiful photo as well. :) x

  8. Cat

    March 28, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    You come by your style naturally!

  9. The Photodiarist

    March 28, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    Incredible. This goes to show the lengths people will go to ensure that their outside selves reflect the style that they host within. Amazing stuff.

  10. Sarah Y

    March 28, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    Perfect example of how style and class transcends social restraints.

  11. joelle

    March 28, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    This whole project is amazing, wonderful. There is so much in these photos and their descriptions, much more than fashion, wonderful as that is.

  12. Copious Couture

    March 28, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    I really like this contest!!! It's awesome to see all these amazing old photos!!!


  13. Unravelled Threads

    March 28, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    great photo…and the story is as such!


    March 28, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    Wow, I didn't know jeans could be that expensive back then! xo

  15. Masha

    March 28, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    Oh! I recognized the spirit of the country and even before i read the story was almost sure that the picture was taken in Russia!
    Yes, the times all this rules in USSR were so unfair… Depressing…
    But people managed to dress fashionably!
    I wonder… was he looking at the river, Neva?.. The picture is beautiful. And yet it is somehow sad.
    P.S. – sorry for my English…

  16. -h

    March 28, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    This is an incredible idea. I enjoy to see all these old photos and read these stories.

  17. Ligeia

    March 28, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    Me sorprende cada día más la historia de la moda, es tan literaria la narración de los sastres, la inventiva del diseñador principiante y el fotografo que capta el momento exacto que marca tendencia.

  18. Екатерина

    March 28, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    Your retro photos are so great and the most wonderful thing is that they are inspiring! This one touched me because I live in Russia and can clearly understand how difficult it was to get smth like jeans! im not old enough to remember your father's time but from my childhood I had a lot of such "desired item" stories :) How come that your father was in St.Petersburg???

  19. Vinda Sonata

    March 28, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    incredible shot! interesting story, too. yes, it's amazing how people from the past manage looking stylish with resources that may be less than ours now.

    fashion atelier.

  20. Lloyd & The Tubsters

    March 28, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    That is so fascinating! Imagine going to all length to procure a certain item of clothing. Makes one wonder what they would go to the black market for if necessary.

  21. Anonymous

    March 28, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    heaven, my favorite thus far.

  22. Anonymous

    March 28, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    Being stylish with modest resources? Spending 90% of one's income on a pair of jeans does not suggest modesty.

  23. Anonymous

    March 28, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    your father was from the USSR or he sold jeans to Soviets for $250?

  24. brittany barney

    March 29, 2010 at 12:18 am

    so handsome.

  25. Kristina Karenina

    March 29, 2010 at 12:23 am

    Perhaps its his face or the background, but something instantly kept hold of my attention. I remember those days growing up when Papa would tell me how expensive and difficult it was to get a pair of Levi's in Krasnodar. There was just something romantic and rebellious all at once, yet somehow bittersweet. More pictures of Russians please!!! We all know of Italy and France, but seriously, how can you not include Moscow or Peters?!

  26. Jason laucht

    March 29, 2010 at 1:49 am

    wow! rule breaker and yet so Vogue! love love love!

  27. Anonymous

    March 29, 2010 at 2:39 am

    Not dollars, rubles!
    Which is (and was then), much less than dollars, about 1:30

  28. Anonymous

    March 29, 2010 at 2:40 am

    The style is amazing!!!
    P.S. He is on the granite embankment of Neva close to Kunstcamera (it`s behind him)on Vasilyi Insel.

  29. lucia

    March 29, 2010 at 2:57 am

    I just love this picture! And what a great story. I 've been to St.Petersburg, Russia a lots of times and I love the city, and the atmosphere is really captured in this pic, a bit melancholic, and what a handsome man.
    Great! Best pic, gorgeous outfit. Love it.

  30. Anonymous

    March 29, 2010 at 3:00 am

    It is usual story about jeans and USSR. :) averybody wants new fashionable jeans from foriegn countries. My father has the same story. And I agree with first comment: Soviet has a lot of interesting stories! And I've send you a story of my grandmother Nonna Sedova.
    Olga :)

  31. roshava

    March 29, 2010 at 3:29 am

    oh this sounds so familiar to me, it was the same with my parents (i'm from Bulgaria). They also had to make a lot of their clothes themselves. People had to be a lot more creative back then.

  32. Jacques

    March 29, 2010 at 4:37 am

    Your father is very stylish! and the fact that he spent all his money to get the jeans reminds me of myself :)

  33. Valeria

    March 29, 2010 at 5:39 am

    Unfortunatly everything from foreign countries was banned in the USSR, specially if it came from the States,but somehow it was challenging to be in fashion under those circumstances..

  34. @nnoushka

    March 29, 2010 at 5:55 am

    Lucky for us Fashion is more "abordable" these days!….

  35. Diane

    March 29, 2010 at 6:01 am

    Oh, this is so familiar because I;m from Romania, another ex soviet country and my parents also tell me about how hard it was to buy jeans or Kent cigarettes or even cassettes with foreign movies!


  36. Anonymous

    March 29, 2010 at 6:14 am

    What a fabulous story!

  37. Anonymous

    March 29, 2010 at 6:19 am

    I never knew your father was Russian! Cool.

  38. Anonymous

    March 29, 2010 at 6:23 am

    ETA: D'oh! Vintage photo *contest.* I get it now.

  39. Marina

    March 29, 2010 at 6:35 am

    That is not quite correct.
    The price of jeans was arounf 250 roubles (russian currency), not dollars! And the salary was also around 200-300 roubles.
    Noone made 250 $ in USSR at that time.

  40. Lisa

    March 29, 2010 at 6:52 am

    What a handsome father. That is cool, you have that fashion interest in common :-)


    March 29, 2010 at 7:11 am

    love the posts, those old photo's are just amazing. xx

  42. Mademoiselle Égérie

    March 29, 2010 at 7:16 am

    Very nice pictures. Why do men don't wear hats anymore?

  43. Sophie

    March 29, 2010 at 8:09 am

    LOL, I think you should make it clear that the stories are not about YOUR grandma, grandfather, dad, etc, but that these are the stories of the people that sent you the photos. It took me a while to realize it, but then I thought your family can't be THAT cosmopolitic.

  44. Anonymous

    March 29, 2010 at 8:43 am

    It can be a good social research – fasion in Soviet Union.
    How people managed to keep good cloth style in severe lack of this good cloth?
    By the way, did you hear about "stylyags" – Russian teddy-boys in 50s?

  45. charles

    March 29, 2010 at 8:44 am

    nowadays in moscow you can buy most everything but back in 70-ies and 80-ies people in russia had more style

  46. Anonymous

    March 29, 2010 at 9:20 am

    The photo is beautiful – your father is so handsome – we wish we could have had his thoughts.

  47. Mark

    March 29, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Very nice shot and really is very vintage indeed!

    It like a movie poster or a photo for magazine… Just realized how movies successfully re-live moments from the past as it really is…

  48. Anonymous

    March 29, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Timeless photo. Seems a man of renaissance that was not afraid of what is in store in the future–his head is held high and he leans waiting for God's next move. He is well-dressed and ready for action, could fit in most settings (fab trench and shined footwear (boots?).

  49. Jocy

    March 29, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    AMAZING! I loved this story.

  50. Anonymous

    March 29, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    I LOVE your blog, and this is my favorite thing you've ever done!
    Going through my photos TONIGHT.


  51. Anonymous

    March 29, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    I thought it was Clint Eastwood for a second. He has that, "Go ahead, make my day," look!

  52. Anonymous

    March 29, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Everyone is smoking in your photos.Look good and smell bad.

  53. Two Many Kids

    March 29, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    I find the image and story very comforting and extremely familiar. There are many photos such as this of my family and many stories of obtaining designer jeans from marines at ridiculous prices! Not to mention the danger of the hunt and collection of the jeans!

  54. Molly

    March 29, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    I watched "Hipsters", this amazing Russian musical this weekend at the Cleveland International Film Festival. It was about the underground movement of fashionistas (partiers as well) during the 50's in USSR. It really is amazing to understand what lengths people go to to express themselves, even in such a repressed society. Thanks for this one!

  55. Improper Opera

    March 30, 2010 at 2:12 am

    what a fantastic looking man, his style is so very rebel without a cause. love the 'tailoredness' of the jeans.

    lady danger for

  56. Oksana

    March 30, 2010 at 2:20 am

    This made me smile : )
    My parents have stories from the USSR, too, including some about jeans!
    This is a really evocative photo.

  57. Lissa Lou

    March 30, 2010 at 2:41 am

    I was born and raised there. The clothing was as much of a deficit as were oranges and kiwi. I believe however that the more restricted a country is, the more flavorful the underground culture is.
    Love these pieces of your life.

  58. Anonymous

    March 30, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    Very inspiring story and photo. In the 1970s, Yves St Laurent visited Moscow and gave the Soviet women some advice on chic dressing without access to western supplies. Interesting how people resist drabness!

  59. Baron-Münchhausen

    March 31, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    He looks very much as my father of that time in Leningrsd!

  60. Anonymous

    June 19, 2010 at 5:05 am


    Not dollars, rubles!
    Which is (and was then), much less than dollars, about 1:30

    You are right about the current rate of ca. 30 roubles for one US dollar for today; however, in 1983 one Russian Rouble had a currency rate of ca. 3-4 American dollars:)

    the rates has changed due to the massive inflation during the last 20-30 years.

  61. mens western jeans

    August 28, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    What a nice photo! I would love to see those personally. My father was the only one who told stories to me about that.

  62. Anonymous

    August 30, 2010 at 9:03 am

    These blokes look so amazing and super cool in these vintage pictures. It makes me sad these days that with so much more money and so much more choice than our grandparents generation had, people look, on the whole, so much WORSE. Perhaps with less cash to spend, people saved till they could afford stuff they really loved, and dressing smartly was part of showing respect for yourself and others.

  63. Julia

    November 10, 2010 at 8:32 am

    wow, I was born in St.Petersburg in 1978!))) recognised Neva's embankment at first glance.
    i didn't know your father is Russian – surprise trait for your portrait)) your farther is sooo handsome and cool! his photo reminded me my farther – he had almost the same outlook at these times, stylish and classy )))
    went to look over our old fotos…and thank you

  64. lindayoga

    August 6, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    Very handsome father!!

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