The History of Blue Jeans
Do you own a pair of blue jeans? Seems like a pretty silly question, right? Jeans have most likely been a part of your wardrobe since a very young age and remain a favourite wardrobe choice for many of us.
Slipping into your favourite pair of blue jeans makes you feel good as you know they give you both comfort and style. Blue jeans are quite literally the most popular fashion development of all time. From work attire, outerwear, casual wear, and high fashion, blue jeans have become widely used in a variety of activities throughout our lives.
Unlike most of the clothing in our wardrobes, blue jeans have deep roots in western society and have a unique and interesting history. Let’s briefly explore the fascinating journey that jeans have undergone - from the great sea exploration, Italian and French weaving, slavery and gold mining to the present-day $3000 designer jeans.
California Gold Rush
In the 1850's the California gold rush was in full swing, and everything was in limited supply. Levis Strauss, a twenty-four-year-old German immigrant left New York for San Francisco to expand the family’s dry goods business. Over the next two decades, Levis made a name for himself, becoming a respectable businessman, whose company was based on values of honesty, professionalism, and philanthropy.
The defining moment came in 1871, when Jacob Davis, a tailor and one of Strauss's regular customers, was approached by the wife of a local labourer requesting him to design pants for her husband that would not fall apart. Davis used denim that he bought from Levi Strauss and came up with an idea of strengthening the jeans by placing copper rivets at places of strain such as corners of pockets and button flyers.
The idea of placing the metal fasteners on the jeans set the standard for the blue jeans we love today.
A Blue Jean Investor
The denim jeans were an instant hit! Many miners were purchasing the jeans and Davis saw an opportunity and requested to team up with Strauss to patent the new attire. Being an astute businessman himself, Strauss saw the potential of this new venture and accepted the offer.
May 20, 1873, is the historical day that Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis obtained the patent on the process of putting rivets in men’s work pants for the very first time. By the 1940's blue jeans were formally accepted and US soldiers and sailors even introduced the jeans as casual wear around the globe.
In the 1950's, jeans were popularised by actor James Dean in the movie Rebel Without a Cause. However, because Dean's character often embodied an edgier star, the jeans were seen as a symbol of youth rebellion leading to their ban in government institutions such as schools, hotels, restaurants and theatres.
However, the craze for blue jeans was so imminent that a decade later, the jeans were later accepted and reintroduced to the public. This is also the time that new diverse styles of blue jeans such as skinny, baggy, straight, flared, bootcut, low rise, capris, tapered and stonewashed jeans began to appear.
Today, jeans are a staple in every wardrobe. What began as an esoteric fashion has now become an essential part of modern fashion and worn by people of all races, ages, gender and class.
1. The most expensive pair of blue jeans is sold for $250,000!
2. The longest pair of blue jeans is sixty-eight meters long.
3. Making of one pair of Levi 501s requires 37 separate sewing operations.
4. The first name for jeans was "waist overalls," even without straps.
5. Statistically, on average every American owns seven pairs of blue jeans.
6. Name 'denim' comes from the name of a sturdy fabric called serge, originally made in Nîmes, France.
7. Approximately 450 million pairs of jeans are sold in the United States every year.
8. After his inauguration, President George W. Bush banned jeans for six days at the White House.
9. That small pocket in the larger pocket of your jeans was initially created to hold a pocket watch.
10. The oldest pair of jeans was discovered in 1998 in an old mine, and was 115 years old.
Article via Hankerman Hangers - proud sponsors of Cazinc The Label.
Carolyn Rowland is a qualified NLP Master Therapist, Advanced Practitioner of Matrix Therapies, Time Line Therapist, Practitioner of Hypnotherapy, has a Diploma for Business and Life Coaching and A Professional Image Stylist. Carolyn is happily married to her husband Simon, and raised four beautiful children, who are now young adults and a teenager.