Denim "Hippie" Skirt

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Denim "Hippie" Skirt

     

Artifact Is: 3 Dimensional
Located at: Museum of Boulder, Boulder, Colorado
Artifact Significant To: Colorado, Nation
Artifact Description:

This denim “hippie” skirt is made from a pair of jeans and adorned with patchwork of various fabrics. Elainya Rainbow (born Eleyn Jones) created the skirt around the same time she moved from Detroit to Boulder in 1967. Elainya was an accomplished seamstress and clothing designer, and was involved in the early outdoor gear and clothing industry - working for companies such as Lowe Alpine and Boulder-based Hine Snowbridge. She was also an early Greenpeace activist

Why Is This Artifact Significant?

Colorado, and Boulder specifically, was a focal point of the counterculture movement in the 1960s. This skirt embodies the personal individuality and creative drive of the hippie culture. Making clothes by hand, converting one type of garment into another, and rejecting retail clothing in favor of thrift, are just a few ways this skirt symbolizes rejection of the status quo. Elainya’s patches are not only a creative expression, but also symbols for her countercultural ideas and activist causes. This garment represents early work of a designer who would go on to make notable contributions to the emerging outdoor clothing industry.

How Does The Artifact Relate To Colorado History?

Originating in San Francisco in the 1950s/60s, the hippie movement soon spread to Colorado. The commune “Drop City” was founded in Trinidad in 1965. Denver and Boulder were also hippie destinations, generating conflict between established residents and the counterculture. The intensity of this culture clash has faded over time - but many who first journeyed here as hippies have remained long-time residents, put down roots in the community, and significantly influenced the culture and economy. The continuum of hippie ideals has contributed to cultural shifts in Colorado, such as marijuana legalization, the natural food industry, and the push for LGBTQ rights.