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The History of Denim as an Eternal Fashion Trend

editorial & arteditorial

17 October 2014

Denim! What a fascinating fabric that conquered the world! It is not only a clothing material, is a symbol, a state of mind, an always changing trend!

We wear denim nowadays as a fashion statement. Denim remains a youth and rebellious symbol but it has taken during time a lot of forms and shapes. Denim can be worn straight, short, high waist, washed, painted, with embroideries, with cuts etc. It`s so versatile and resistant! It is made mostly from cotton and has a twill weave. The length warp is blue (from where the dominant color and terminology of blue jeans) and the cross-wise threads are white, very tightly twisted so it is very hard for the dye to penetrate the thread.

Where denim name come from?

We know France as the fashion country. Now, we can outline it once again it by letting you know that denim has its roots here too. Yes, from the fabric called serge originally made in Nimes by the Andre family. Denim was called serge de Nimes but, to be easier to pronounce, it was shortened to Denim.  

Denim becomes jean on American lands

In the history of denim, the rugged strong fabric was used by works because of its resistance and durability. Of course, like many of the mediatised things, denim became more and more popular on American lands.

The denim giant Levi Strauss was born back in the 1800s

Back in the 1800s, the American gold miners needed strong clothes for their work. So, denim was the right choice. For this type of demand, Leob Strauss is the one to put the first bricks on the jeans empire along with a Nevada tailor. The businessman then changed his name into the well-known jeans brand Levi and this is where the fashion jeans started.

Jeans were worn in the Western cowboy movies in the 1930s and this made them very popular. People started to get interested in this type of fabric. It was not a worker outfit anymore. It was fashion! And fashion spreads itself even in times of war. In the World War II, soldiers wore jeans in their spare time and, this way, they introduced them to the entire world. So, it was time to speculate and more jean brand to come along. This is when Lee and Wrangler started their businesses back in 1940s.

The jean and the need for freedom as a fashion statement

And then, after the war period, came the need for freedom, the hippies and James Dean, the Rebel Without a Cause. And jeans expressed perfectly this state of mind. And from this point on, the jeans has kept this kind of charm till nowadays.

It was jeans mania back in the 60s and 70s. From painted jeans, embroidered jeans, from flares and platform shoes, everyone wore jeans. It was a fashion statement, it was a cool way to be among the others, it was a form of expressing yourself and the need to be comfy and free.

The jean makes a step to the high fashion clothing with Gucci

But when high end brands like Gucci take the jean and turn it into high fashion clothing, there is when jeans make a turn from the streets to the catwalks. So, jeans start to sell like hot bread. It was a boom, a different one from the 60s-70s, but a form to show the immortality of this amazing fabric.

The jean was the right material to work with, to get creative and original. After a short sidedown in the 90s, it was back in force making fashion statements in the 2000s. More and more fashion designers like Dior, Versace, Chanel took on their creativity and worked with the jean to take it to another level.

The jean is a must have, a fashion trends that never fades

Now, almost every brand has a denim line. Zappos, Calvin Klein, Gap, Diesel, J Brand, 7 For All Mankind, Current / Elliot and so many others are good examples. Now jeans means dresses, skirts, shirts, coats, jackets, leggings not only pants and jumpsuits. Jeans are found in different shapes and cuts from skinny jeans to boyfriend jeans, from high waist jeans to belted jeans, from washed to raw and so on. We see the jean on the streets and we see the jean on the runways.

The America gave the tone to a worldwide denim tone and now voices from the American retailers say that the denim market is a bit slow because of the more and more `athletic` trend that is going on. More leggings, yoga pants and less denim, some voices say. But, trends come and go and I believe in the true force of a great denim outfit.

Balmain denim jumpsuit

Denim is the king fashion fabric of all times, a fabric that makes wonders when it is mixed with designer`s creativity, a piece of clothing that stays true to its roots and can be more than versatile with each decade that passes!


Editor Andra Oprea

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