It’s always good to know where and why something was made, seeing as everything in the olden days was made for a clear functional purpose. Jeans have become a style staple in all our lives but why were they created and how far have we really come from its origins?
Levi Strauss, a pedlar who had immigrated to North America from Bavaria, followed the Gold Rush in California in the 1850s to sell his goods. The miners asked him for durable work pants and, with the help of tailor Jacob W. Davis, Strauss put together work pants that were supposedly made out of brown canvas intended for tents. Then, in the 1860s, he began to fabricate pants made from heavyweight denim, and because the pants were dyed indigo they were named “blue jeans”.
But that is probably where the humble pair of jeans stopped being a practical item and evolved into a fashion statement, as subsequent styles have changed with purely aesthetic fashion trends and every now and then we seem to take a hot lap back to the beginning and start again. We’ve seen jeans go from being big and baggy, to stove-pipe skinny, and back again for at least two more cycles—and, let’s admit it, we’ve all bowed to the puppet masters every single time, emptying our blue denim pockets along the way.
- Words: Jared Acquaro