Trigger Warning: The following introduction will discuss themes of sexual assault and rape. If you or someone you know needs help finding resources, you can contact SARC on the University of Montana campus at 406-243-6559 or the RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-4673 . We here at Trendsetters want to remind you that you are never alone, and you are valid.
Denim Day is honored on Wednesday, April 28th this year, in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The campaign began in Italy in 1992, when an 18 year old girl was assaulted by her driving instructor. The Italian Supreme Court determined that due to the tight jeans the girl was wearing, she had to help her attacker remove them, therefore it wasn’t rape, it was consensual sex. Women within the Italian Parliament protested on the steps of the Italian Supreme Court, wearing jeans to defy the “jeans alibi” the court had created. The protest was picked up and held annually around the world. The movement further gained traction in May of 2020, when sexual abuse survivors took to TikTok to show what they were wearing, paint where they were touched, and overall share their story. In solidarity with survivors, the Trendsetters decided to share this photoshoot. Our goal was to share that no matter what you wear, denim or not, it is never an invitation for sexual assault.
Hey, Trendsetters! As someone who is a survivor of sexual violence, the reason behind this shoot was very important to me. Denim Day celebrates women’s fierceness and determination through struggles such as these, and I wanted my outfit to reflect that. I wanted to wear something I felt confident and strong in, so I chose my Dickes overalls paired with a white turtleneck sweater and a denim shirt. Thank you to our photographer, Rakel, for always making me feel comfortable in front of the camera, and thank you to our president, Ashley, for setting up this shoot and all of the events we had this year. — xoxo, Sara
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, something that is extremely important to me and many others. Women and men all over the world experience these horrific situations. It is so important to protect and support survivors while educating ourselves and others on all forms of sexual violence. Denim Day, April 29, started from one case that grew into something much larger. The issue of people getting away with these sickening acts of sexual violence affects so many, not only in Italy where the trial that started Denim Day took place, but in the United States and all over the world. I want to take this opportunity to say that I support every survivor of sexual violence no matter what they were wearing, what gender they are, or if they were intoxicated. Nothing warrants sexual violence or harassment.
I chose to wear this black crop top (From Target) because many times people say “they were showing so much skin” as an excuse for sexual violence. I chose to wear this denim jacket (given to me by my grandmother from her closet) because it can happen to people even when they are covering up. And of course, I wore these jeans (from Target two years ago) that are so tight on me I can barely move properly in them, because tight jeans doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
If you or someone you know has been affected by an act of sexual violence and are in need of support please reach out to:
UM students – SARC
(406) 243-6559 – 24-hr Support Line
Missoula Area: http://missoula911.com/
Bitterroot Valley: http://www.safeinthebitterroot.org/SAFE/resources/
For denim day, I tapped into my more feminine side. I’m not one for especially bright colors, but I love a soft pink. I got this top from Dillards, and the jeans are from Bohme. Don’t you love it when you find jeans that fit exactly the way you want them to? The pale green heels I wore for this shoot were actually the shoes I wore to my senior prom many moons ago, and it was so much fun to wear them again. Additionally, while getting ready for this meet-up, I was rewatching Adventure Time with my boyfriend (we’re total cartoon nerds), so my make-up ended up being heavily inspired by Princess Bubblegum who is a fierce leader while also being very soft and feminine in appearance which is very much the attitude I wanted to convey for this shoot. On impulse, I added a sparkly headband as I was running out the door, and I think that really completed the look.
The time for silence is over. Every 73 seconds, someone in America is sexually assaulted. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and and I could not think of a more important issue to bring awareness to using this platform.
For this shoot, I really wanted to tap into the “Jeans Alibi” that sparked a worldwide movement, so I chose my tightest, best bootylicious jeans I could. It does not matter what you are wearing or how good you look, you deserve control over your own body and no one can take that away from you. To give this shoot just that touch of Ashley “sparkle,” as to not make it too sullen (?), I put on my new denim jacket with rhinestone tassels all the way around it. I saw it at Ross a couple weeks ago and I knew it was the one for me. As a person that goes “all out” without themes, a perfect Canadian tuxedo would be incomplete without a vest, so I threw on my bleach washed denim vest just to give it MORE denim!
The most important piece for this photoshoot was my denim, rhinestone encrusted baseball cap, given to me by my aunt Lori. My aunt Lori passed away suddenly this year, and I wanted a way to honor her memory, and I couldn’t think of a cause more important than this one. Lori was a victim of sexual violence that almost took her life at 19. This happens to too many women, not just here in America, but all over the world. It isn’t just a new trend, this has been a tragedy that has plagued us for too long and it is time to unite and take a stand against sexual violence. Stand up, speak loud, and never stop fighting for those that deserve justice.
I chose my outfit because I wanted to wear something simple and wanted the jeans to be my main vocal point, because it is denim day. I also wore heels because if ever wearing tight skinny jeans like I did, it is a nice trick to help slim your figure look slimmed down and lean. I wanted to go heavier on my eye makeup than normal, it was the amazing new palette at Ulta called “Morning Mimosa” if any of you are looking for some new fun, new, great quality eyeshadow, it was only $20 and it was 100% worth it.
At 5’11 it has always been almost impossible to find jeans that aren’t ankle length on me. For this reason I’ve mostly stuck to wearing leggings and dresses. Recently I began an internship at the Buckle and was thrilled to learn they have jeans long enough for me! I paired my new jeans with a white blouse I found on clearance at Ross, trench coat from JCPenneys, and my red satin heels from TJ Maxx.
Thank you all so much for taking the time to read such an important blog post. This is a conversation that touches us as well as millions of lives around the world. This issue impacts everyone, even if you don’t know it, and it is time to use our voices to bring an end to sexual assault and rape. Please continue to show your support and take a stand against sexual violence.
-The Trendsetters Team
Photography by Rakel Tangvald | @rakel_tangvald