The History Of Denim Jeans

Please take time to read the following time line, most people dont relise how old denim actually is!

In 1852, the American gold rush was in full flow, and everyday items were in short supply. Levi Strauss, a 23-year-old German immigrant, left New York for San Francisco with a small supply of goods and canvas material with the intention of opening a branch of his brother’s New York dry goods business. After his arrival, a gold prospector wanted to know what Mr. Strauss was selling. When Strauss told him he had rough canvas to use for tents and wagon covers, the prospector said, “You should have brought pants!,” saying he couldn’t find a pair of pants strong enough to last, as the wool ones everyone had were wearing though on the tough rocks and landscape the gold prospectors had to contend with.

The denim jeans were born !

In 1873, Levi Strauss Company began using the pocket stitch design. Levi Strauss and Nevada tailor David Jacobs co-patented the process of putting rivets on pants for extra strength. On May 21st, 1873, they received U.S.Patent No.139,121. This date is now considered the official birthday of “blue jeans.”

The two-horse brand design was first used in 1886. The red tab attached to the left rear pocket was created in 1936 as a means of identifying Levi’s jeans at a distance. All are registered trademarks

1893 The zipper was invented by W,.Litcomb Judson as a system of small eyelets and hooks.

1902 Levi Strauss dies aged 73 leaving his business to his four nephews, Jacob, Louis, Abraham, and Sigmund Stern. Levi’s fortune was estimated to be around 6 million dollars. He was buried in Colma, California. Strauss had never married.

1920 Levis become the leadin product in mens work pants.

1930’s: Cowboys – who often wore jeans in the movies – became very popular, which lead to an increased interest in the
rugged trousers.

1933 An American chemist Sanford Cluett invented a method to ‘sanforise’ cotton fabrics, including denim. Despite this, pre washing jeans did not become main stream until the 1960’s.

1940 Levis patents expires, and companys like Wrangler and Lee try to take over from Levis strong hold on the denim market

1950 Jeans are being less assoicated with work wearand more with rebellion and indivuality. American teenagers start to call waisted overalls ‘jean pants’ and tend to wear them for every ocassion.

1955 The white t shirt leather jacket and jeans combo is born, Marlon Brando in the movie ‘Wild One’ sets the fashion of many of youngsters of america and beyound to follow.

1960 Different styles and designs come into the market, with hippys, paint and funky psychedeli colours and designs become availible to the masses.

1970 American Fabrics magazine says ‘ denim is one of the worlds oldest fabrics yet it remaines eternally yound. Indigo denim has become a world wide phenomenon.

1977 The very first pair of ‘designer’ jeans are born by Calvin Klein.

1980 High end fashion designer brands start to produce own label denim, and with it they start large scale sexy ad campains to help them promote there brand.

1990 Jeans start to go out of fashion as the youth of the 90’s dont want to be seen in something there parents are wearing.
New styles and fabrics such as khaki, chinos and branded sportswear such as Nike, Adidas etc… become more and more popular with the youth of the 90’s.
Levis suffer as a reuslt and have to close over 10 American factories.

Late 1990’s Hip hop rules as oversized jeans start to appear the main stream for the masses.

2001 Levis buy the oldest known pair of Levi jeans on ebay for over $46,000,
Vintage denim has a huge follwing and the re surfacing of the vintage look promted Levi’s to reproduce old patterns and a vintage clothing collection.