History of Jeans: the world’s most popular garment

Jeans as an historic garment

This item of clothing is called jeans and is one of the most famous garments in the world. Do you know its history? Its origin is ancient, a garment born for workers and nowadays it is always in fashion.

In Smile Vintage we tell you the history of this great garment and all its keys. Let’s go!

Origin of jeans

The concept “jean” emerged in the 1800s to refer to a cotton twill that was used to weave trousers. Blue jeans, or denim, were originally made from this fabric in the French town of Nîmes.

The garment as we know it was patented in 1873 by a tailor, Jacob Davis, and Levi Strauss, owner of a fabric wholesale house in San Francisco. Strauss and Davis made two types of jeans: blue denim and duck-brown canvas. In the end, it was the former that gained popularity and was the most recognisable.

Over the next few decades, the jeans took shape and became more identifiable, becoming what we know them as today. Strauss added a double arc of orange stitching to reinforce the fabric so they could be identified as Levi’s. It was not until 1954 that the buttons were replaced by the famous zip.

During World War I, jeans from another brand known as Lee Union-All were the most widely worn jeans for all war workers.

The stardom of jeans

It was between the 1920s and 1930s that jeans enjoyed great popularity and gradually spread around the world. The jeans were propelled by Hollywood, which, through the fashion films of the time, dressed its charismatic protagonists in jeans, such as Gary Cooper and John Wayne.

Through advertising images of these actors and actresses of the time, jeans acquired a glamorous image that encouraged consumers to buy the famous jeans. It was first conceived for men’s wear, but from 1930 onwards women were persuaded to wear them casually.

The jeans’ youth boom came in the 1950s, when jeans became associated with the rebellious youth of the time. This image was made possible by teen idol stars such as James Dean, rock stars and even the hippies of the later 60s and 70s.

Also suitable for high fashion

Until the 1980s, jeans were seen as a common, everyday garment. More elegant and aesthetic jeans began to be designed, such as dark skinny trousers by big brands like Fiorucci.

Calvin Klein was the first designer who dared to present blue jeans on the fashion runway. In the following years, it was only a matter of time before big brands such as Dior and Dolce & Gabbana had joined the jeans market, with more elegant and more expensive proposals.

Changes over time

As time went by, jeans, like all other garments and accessories on the market, evolved and caught on with different segments of society. In the 1990s, they were designed looser and bigger, like the hip-hop models. Darker colours and other types of fabrics emerged to suit all groups and tastes in society.

Today, it is almost impossible to find a prestigious designer brand that has not featured jeans at some point in its presentations. Customers can purchase all kinds of jeans styles to suit their personality and comfort.

A garment of yesterday forever

What was originally conceived as a comfortable, practical and durable item of clothing for long working men, evolved over time, becoming more common and popular with the rest of society.

The benefits of today’s jeans are the same as those of their ancestors: a comfortable and practical garment. Trousers that can be worn on a daily basis or at weekends, trousers for everyday wear or more sophisticated trousers to combine with a T-shirt or polo shirt. A garment that is likely to last over time and adapt to the future. Long life to jeans!

At Smile Vintage we have at your disposal an extensive catalogue of trousers and other garments that will enhance your values and personality. We invite you to browse our catalogue and marvel at all the possibilities.

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