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History of Blue Jeans

Written By Lily Sisson


The unisex uniform for casual cool is found in the Blue Jean.

Bavarian designer Levi Strauss is known for bringing the jean to the United States in the 1800’s, stitching the first pair in the Wild West around 1873. Strauss originally designed these hard canvas pants for intense laborious activities, with the California gold miners in mind.
With the help of Jacob Davis, Strauss reached peak ingenuity of the jean by adding copper riveting at various stress points, making the garment much more durable for the working man, thus birthing Levi’s signature style.

While The Jean is considered an iconic standard American garment, its origins are european.
The origins of the term “denim” is actually an anglicized contraction from the French “de Nimes”, as this indigo-dyed cotton cloth is said to have originated from Nimes, France.
But the textile has preceding historical origins in Italy (possibly as far back as the 16th century). What brought this textile to France were Italian sailors. Denim is said to have been worn in France by sailors and dockworkers from Genoa, Italy, who were referred to as “genes”, hence the term jeans. Sailors liked the denim material for its sturdiness in the face of outdoor labor.

So what bridged the evolution of the blue jean from a laborer’s work attire to the unisex casual social garment that the jean has become today?

Well, the blue jean has gone through many shifts in the past century and is often used for its diverse sartorial symbolic significance.