The 1950’s ushered in an era of rebellion and youthful uprising. It was only a matter of time before denim moved away from the nationalistic cowboy pride and into the symbol of defiance. Hollywood certainly glorified the 1950s motorcycle gangs in the same way that it did previously with cowboys. In fact, reports of a riot at a motorcycle rally in Hollister, CA, in around 1947 was actually the basis for one of the iconic films of the era, The Wild One, starring Marlon Brando
Later in 1955, the film Rebel Without a Cause, highlighted the emerging cultural gap between the restlessness of America’s young generation and the hardcore conservatism of their elders. Even though James Dean, the film’s young star, tragically died in a car accident before the movie opened, the image of him as Jim Stark in his white tee and jeans would last forever.
Jeans had become a symbol for the youth as a way to express rebellion. When the youth wore them, they were bold and confident, and when adults saw that they were frightened. The media scolded the youth as delinquents and gangsters, with denim even being banned in schools.