Dresses come and go as fashion trend changes, but jeans has proven over grosses of years that it will always be with us. Jeans is as ubiquitous as air; found everywhere, worn by almost all. Jeans erazed the fashion line between the rich and the poor. You don’t have to be rich or poor to wear a pair of jeans. Jeans is a clothing item that has become quintessential in our fashion, found in almost every wardrobe.
Jeans came to being in 1860 as the jeans worn by Giuseppe Garibaldi in May 1860 are regarded as the oldest jeans in the world,and they are preserved in the Museo Centrale del Risorgimento in Italy. Jeans, a.k.a. denim, was a fabric that originated in the Italian town of Genoa, and was used for sails because it was very sturdy. Because of its durability and resistance to wear, jeans started to be used to make clothing for peasants. The word “jeans” comes from the Italian word “genuense”, literally “of Genoa” and from “jean”: the local word used to denote corduroy. Genoa was famous for its cotton corduroy, called either jean or jeane. The jeans fabric from Genoa (at that time) was in fact very similar to corduroy, and the jeans were exported by sailors of Genoa throughout Europe. In the French city of Nimes, weavers tried to reproduce the fabric exactly, but without success. However, with experimentation, and through trial and error, they developed another twill fabric that became known as denim, literally “de Nimes”. Only at the end of the eighteenth century did jeans arrive in the United States. A lot of people had believed that the United States of America was where jeans came from.
Levi Strauss was a dry goods merchant selling blue jeans under the “Levi’s” brand to the mining communities of California in the 1850s. One of Strauss’ customers was Jacob Davis, a tailor who frequently purchased bolts of cloth from the Levi Strauss & Co. wholesale house. After one of Davis’ customers kept buying cloth to reinforce torn pants, he had an idea to use copper rivets to reinforce the points of stress, such as on the pocket corners and at the top of the button fly. Davis did not have the required money to purchase a patent, so he wrote to Strauss suggesting that they both go into business together. Strauss accepted Davis’ offer and the two men received U.S. Patent 139,121, for an “Improvement in Fastening Pocket-Openings,” on May 20, 1873.
After Levis’ jeans, there were other brands that went into production of jeans. Historic brands include Levi’s, Lee, and Wrangler. There are many types of jeans based on how they are sewn, cut, texture, or colour. They include; Denim overalls, bell bottom jeans, Stonewashed jeans, Daisy Duke, Acid wash jeans, Baggy gangster jeans, Distressed lowrise jeans, Nudie jeans, skinny jeans. Jeans also come in various fits, including skinny, tapered, straight, boot cut and flare.
Jeans has eaten deep into our fashion so much that we can’t get rid of it; we can’t even seem to do without it. It is one of the most comfortable and most stylish attire loved by all regardless of their status, suit for all weather and almost all occasions. It cuts across age, gender, culture, and would have been more popular than soccer, had it been a game.
Jeans did not originate from the United States though, but America made jeans popular. However, Americans are not the highest users of denim in the world. According to recent surveys, Colombians own the most denim items and own the most jeans on average, while Germans wear denim jeans/shorts most often (4.5 days per week).
Michael Belluomo, editor of Sportswear International Magazine, Oct/Nov 1987, P. 45, wrote that in 1965, Limbo, a boutique in the New York East Village, was “the first retailer to wash a new pair of jeans to get a used, worn effect, and the idea became a hit.” He continued, “Limbo hired East Village artists to embellish the jeans with patches, decals and other touches, and sold them for $200.” In the early 1980s the denim industry introduced the Stone-Washing technique developed by GWG also known as “Great Western Garment Co.”. Donald Freeland of Edmonton, Alberta pioneered the method, which helped to bring denim to a larger and more versatile market.
Many consumers in Western societies are willing to pay extra for jeans that have the appearance of being used. To give the fabrics the worn look, sandblasting is used.
Wearing jeans became a symbol of youth rebellion during the 1950s after James Dean popularized them in the movie Rebel Without a Cause. Because of this, they were sometimes banned in theaters, restaurants and schools. During the 1960s the wearing of jeans became more acceptable, and by the 1970s it had become general fashion in the United States for casual wear. Today, an average American has 7 pairs of jeans, just behind an average Columbian in the number of jeans owned.
Worldwide production of denim stands near 2.5 billion yards. The US denim mills alone turn out about 1 billion yards annually between their American and foreign production plants. Countries involved in denim production apart from the United States include Italy, Greece, and Brazil. Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia, Japan, Taiwan. Korea, Hong Kong, China, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Australia, Dubai, South Africa, Philippines, Mexico, and Spain.
In 2004, Americans spent more than $14 billion on jeans and $15 billion in 2005. Surveys are ongoing on how much Nigerians spend on jeans, but it has been noticed however that every ‘normal’ Nigerian owns at least a pair of jeans.
You gotta love jeans as they are utility wears that are suit for all casual outings. If you don’t own a pair, you are missing a lot. No pant gives you the comfort jeans gives. Get a pair today, it’s in shops all around you.