It’s safe to say that the majority of us own a pair of jeans, making denim one of the most popular materials in our wardrobes today.
With hundreds of fashion companies selling items made from denim, it’s worth knowing a few interesting facts about it.
It is believed that denim was first invented in Genoa, Italy, as far back as the 1500s. It was made for the Italian navy to wear while on duty.
Although the Italians were the first to make it, the material itself came from a French city called Nimes. ‘De Nimes’, which means ‘from Nimes’ in English, gave the material its name.
The word ‘jeans’ comes from the word ‘Genes’, which is the French word for the city of Genoa.
Denim has been around for several hundred years, but in the 1960s, people began to see it as a sign of rebellion among young people. Establishments began refusing entry to people in jeans as they were worried they were part of a protest.
It was first seen in the 16th century, but Levi Strauss was the man who popularised the material in the 1870s. He made clothes for miners and other working class people since the material was inexpensive.
A grand total of 225 pairs of jeans can be made from just one bale of cotton.
We’re used to seeing blue jeans, but the color is actually created using indigo dye. This was the best color to hide any dirt which got onto the clothing – ideal for miners and sailors.
Each person in America owns an average of 7 pairs of jeans.
While baggy jeans and bootcut jeans were popular in the 50s, 60s and 70s, lots of people prefer wearing skinny jeans nowadays. These are made by mixing denim with another fabric called elastene, which helps to slightly stretch the material.
Levi Strauss, the creator of the famous brand Levi’s, never wore a pair of his own jeans. He was a wealthy businessman and jeans were made for the poorer people.
Denim jeans weren’t known as ‘jeans’ until the 1950s – before this point, they were referred to more commonly as ‘overalls’.
In 1936, a label was sewn onto an item on clothing for the first time. It was a red flag sewed next to the back pocket of a pair of Levi’s.
Around 7.5 billion feet of denim fabric is produced every single year.
There are many different styles of jeans available now, including bootcut, skinny and straight. Some retailers even allow people to customize their jeans, choosing features such as pocket size, leg length, fit and style.
Unfortunately, thousands of denim items are manufactured in sweatshops in third-world countries, even though most denim garments are worn by people in the Western world.
May 20th is regarded as the birthday of blue jeans, since it was the day when Levi Strauss patented his idea.
Jeans have featured on several songs by popular artists over the years. Lana Del Rey released a song titled ‘Blue Jeans’ in 2012, and Neil Diamond released ‘Forever in Blue Jeans’ in 1979.
Ripped jeans, also known as distressed jeans, are one of the most popular fashion looks of the early 21st century. While some people break the bank for a nice quality pair of ripped jeans, many people follow YouTube tutorials and do a DIY job.
Every year, around 450 million pairs of jeans are sold in America.
If you’ve ever wondered why the inside of denim garments are white, this is because only the outside (warp) is dyed indigo. The weft (interior) is not dyed.
Some people don’t like ripped jeans, but they do look for a more ‘wore-in’ appearance. Some clothing retailers, such as Calvin Klein, sell jeans with this look. A variety of methods are used to achieve it, including beating the denim with rocks.
Before the 20th century, manufacturers imported indigo from India to create the blue denim look. Artificial dyes were then created, so imported indigo become less common.
The oldest pair of jeans to be discovered was found in 1998 down an old mine. According to the date, they were 115 years old.
The small pocket in the larger pocket of your jeans was originally designed for a pocket watch.
In 2001, George W. Bush decided that staff in the Oval Office were not allowed to wear jeans anymore.
While denim is traditionally blue, there are now many other colors available, including black, red and green. All these colors are achieved with artificial dyes.
In 1951, popular singer Bing Crosby was refused a hotel room as he was wearing jeans. In response to this, Levi’s designed a denim jacket especially for him.
One of the common features of Levi’s jeans is orange stitching, which is sometimes seen on their jeans. This was first used to match the copper rivets which were first used on jeans.
Soldiers during World War II would wear jeans when off duty, as they were comfortable and casual and allowed them to worry less about getting dirty.
Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikikaisha is the company which makes 90% of the world’s zippers for jeans. The initials YKK can often be found on the zippers.
Now you know more about denim than the average person, you’ll have many opportunities to impress when you next see a pair of jeans!