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How the USSR used to check the quality of jeans with a match and why this method doesn't really work

What Soviet people perceived as a sign of quality was actually poorly dyed fabric. Source: Created with the help of AI

Ordinary jeans were such a scarce and prestigious commodity in the USSR that some citizens were willing to do anything to buy a pair of pants made of real denim. A whole bunch of fashionable life hacks were invented to test them.

For example, fashionistas who managed to save up for an expensive purchase would take matches with them to try on. Why they did this and what was wrong with their life hack, OBOZ.UA tells.

So, jeans in the USSR were considered a cult item of clothing. They were especially appreciated for their ability to form beautiful scuffs on the fabric over time. Some were specially boiled to speed up their appearance. Pants treated in this way were called "varenki".

It was believed that branded jeans could be wiped off after wearing them. That is why they tried to check their suitability for this purpose. This is where a match came in handy. The stick was moistened and rubbed on the fabric. If the wood turned blue from contact with the denim, it was considered a sign of the item's "authenticity."

In reality, this test made no sense. A high-quality dye, although it washes out gradually from denim, is not so unstable that it can turn blue from mere contact with a wet match. But the counterfeit was dyed with whatever was available, and it passed this test with flying colors.

Over time, Soviet denim lovers realized that their life hack was being actively abused and abandoned it. They also stopped buying ready-made "jams" because they were scuffed with a pumice stone, which spoiled the fabric, and very expensive jeans quickly failed after such treatment.

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