“Jeans have become this neutral foundational garment. If you want to show you are relaxed, if you want to be relaxed, you wear jeans,” says Miller. It was a long journey for “Denim” to become the style statement of the masses.
Denim existed in 17th century
Do you know where it all started? Denim was not the classy fad to begin with. If you explore the beginning of even the most iconic garments, you’ll discover that they were designed keeping the function in mind. The same holds true for denim jeans. Denim existed even in 17th century but was not in for fashion. It was used for its high durability. Denim was the long lasting work wear fabric for physically demanding jobs. The classic five pocket denim jeans were perhaps the most functional of all for the gold miners in Western America.
The First Patent and Brand
Unbelievable! Till 1800s, jeans were a term synonymous to trousers. “Jacob Davis”, the tailor became instrumental for the shift in denim style men. A woman needed a durable pair of pants for her laborer husband. He had an idea to use metal rivets at weak points in the trouser. He also needed a strong fabric but the whole process was time consuming. Also he felt the need for patent. So he approached a man named Levi Strauss. Does this ring bells in your ear? Yeah! Davis and Strauss went with a partnership and patented their so called “blue jeans” in 1873 and Levi’s was born. Still till as late as the early 1930s, denim was reserved as clothing for the lower classes.
The Shift in use
The change struck with the impact of western movies and the image of the cowboy. It was in 1950; James Dean contributed hugely to the popularity of blue jeans with movie ‘Rebel Without a Cause’. By the 1970s, the whole world seemed to be in love with denim fashion trends, especially the younger ones.
The Rising Popularity
Today, denim style finds place in every wardrobe indifferently. Love for denims permeates through all ages, genders and cultures. Jeans are the major and most popular denim staple. Buying a denim wear is an excitement no matter what you pick.
Fashion is continuously soaring high with innovation. We have many enduring forms of denim already available in the form of tops, jackets, kurtis, shirts etc. and accessories like bags and purses. It is the undisputed champion in the garment industry. Yet, there are new forms of denim, the stretchable characteristic, the shades, the embroidery and the embellishments and lot more to add to the style.
The Sustainability Challenge
It would not be justice to ignore the deteriorating environmental conditions. Denim uses a ton of water in its lifecycle right from production to the use. There is an urgent need to collectively create ways to reduce its water footprint and even carbon dioxide that is created. This will help in incorporating circular economy principles which will make this ever-popular indigo blue fabric sustainable. As lovers of denim wear, we can find ways to take better care of our denims and spearhead a ‘textiles revolution’.
That’s how Denim fashion trends became not only America’s greatest love affair, besides coffee, but a global style statement.