Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.


Marketing is the art of making people feel good, as they buy things they don't really need.

Today's exemplar of this genius is Nordstrom.

It is selling some very special PRPS jeans. They're called Barracuda Straight Leg Jeans.

And they are, well, dirty.

The Nordstrom website blurb gushes that these embody "Rugged Americana workwear that's seen some hard-working action with a crackled, caked-on muddy coating that shows you're not afraid to get down and dirty."

Some might muse that these jeans actually embody your fear of getting down dirty, because you're rather up yourself.

You're prepared, indeed, to con people in order to hide the fact that you've never done a day's hard labor in your life.

If you really had, you'd have genuinely dirty Wranglers that set you back 40 bucks. Not these PRPS perpetrating subterfuge that set you back $425.

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Yes, these jeans aren't dirt cheap. You have to pay for workers' dirty hands to smear the mud in an artistic fashion, so that you can sport this rugged high fashion.

At least that's how I'd wish these jeans were made. Instead, I suspect some fine machine sprayed this faux mud on, following a pattern that took an in-house designer seconds to draw.

Naturally, Mike Rowe, TV's working man of the people, wasn't slow to identify the slight problem behind these jeans.

On Facebook, he mused: "'Rugged Americana' is now synonymous with a 'caked-on, muddy coating.' Not real mud. Fake mud. Something to foster the illusion of work. The illusion of effort. Or perhaps, for those who actually buy them, the illusion of sanity."

Oh, Mike. It's the illusion of fashion. In essence, then, the illusion of illusion.

I contacted Nordstrom to ask whether selling these jeans was a besmirchment of working class values. I will update, should the company come clean.

I feel confident, however, that by the time the week is done, the listing on the website will show "Sold out."

And now, whenever you wear dirty jeans to a party, some posh spark will come up to you and declaim: "Darling, did you get those at Nordstrom?"

You'll reply, of course: "Oh, yes. It's special designer dirt!"