Here’s a little fashion trivia: what clothing item is worn on the lower half of your body, created from rugged cotton twill textile that is colored blue with indigo dye?
(like you couldn’t tell what the answer would be by the picture above…)
No item of clothing is more popular than blue jeans. From the supermarket to the catwalk, men, women and children alike wear this iconic piece of clothing. What was originally a work pant has become a symbol of comfort. Think “casual Fridays” in the workplace; what’s the first thing you look forward to wearing? Yep, you guessed it….JEANS!
The modern history of blue jeans started in 1873 by Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss (sound familiar?), who turned denim, thread and a little metal into the most popular clothing product in the world.
Jeans were first called ‘waist overalls” to distinguish them from “bib overalls”! How funny! These first jeans had one pocket in back and two pockets plus the watch pocket in front. They also had a strap and buckle on the back of the waistband to cinch the pants in, and buttons for suspenders to hold the pants up. The term ‘jeans’ became more popular around 1960 when the baby-boom generation adopted the term for its favorite type of pants, blue jeans.
DID YOU KNOW…
*the jeans market has grown to be a $14.6 billion industry
*in 1885, a pair of jeans (‘waist overalls’) cost $1.25
*in 1997, Levi Strauss & Co. paid $25,000 for a pair of 100 year old jeans (for their museum) found in an old Colorado mine, which is the oldest known pair of Levi jeans
*a typical pair of jeans takes about 1 3/4 yards of denim, 213 yards of thread, five buttons and six rivets.
*there are 37 separate sewing operations involved in making a single pair of jeans
Today, designer jeans are available by hundreds of labels. Washes and finishes, embellishments, destroyed and distressed jeans, and ultra low rise jeans are a few of many features of the once 100% cotton item. Since jeans are now a fashion item, stretch or polyester/cotton blend is incorporated into the fabric to make them lighter weight. Either way, the history of jeans is still being made. LONG LIVE DENIM!