Blog: Michelle RussellSkinny jeans puts garment safety into spotlight

Michelle Russell | 2 July 2015

It seems we need to pay more attention to what we pull on in the mornings after a number of health incidents related to clothing has placed the spotlight firmly on the safety of garments and how we wear them.

An incident involving a woman in Australia that was hospitalised and temporarily paralysed from wearing a pair or skinny jeans that were too tight brought the issue to the fore last week.

The 35-year-old collapsed and spent several hours lying on the ground unable to move, and subsequently spent four days in hospital. The woman, who said the jeans had felt increasingly tight as the day wore on, had been helping a relative move house and had spent a number of hours squatting.

According to doctors, her choice of fashion resulted in the development of compartment syndrome, or reduced blood supply to the leg muscles, which causes swelling of the muscles and compression of the adjacent nerves.

The incident has no doubt resulted in nervous laughter across the female population, which has wholeheartedly embraced the skinny jean as a staple wardrobe item.

Associate Professor Thomas Edmund Kimber, of the University of Adelaide in South Australia, told the Daily Mail: “The present case represents a new neurological complication of wearing tight jeans.”

Indeed, days after, another case surfaced of a woman who was left “writhing in agony and bedridden from severe cystitis and inflammation of the bladder” after also wearing skinny jeans.

And this was followed by a product recall by Canadian yogawear firm Lululemon Athletica, which issued a warning about one of its women's hoodies after there were seven reported incidents, resulting in seven injuries to the face and eye from the product's elastic draw cord.

Lululemon has recalled around 133,000 units in the US and 185,000 in Canada as a result. But as for the skinny jeans incident, which resulted in the publication of a report in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, maybe choosing comfort over style is the way forward when it comes to choosing our next outfit.

Sectors: Apparel

Companies: Lululemon Athletica


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