For other uses, see .A pair of factory-distressed, loose fit men's jeans Microscopic image of faded jeans fabric
Jeans are a type of , typically made from or cloth. Often the term "jeans" refers to a particular style of trousers, called "blue jeans", which were invented by in partnership with in 1871 and patented by Jacob W. Davis and on May 20, 1873. Prior to the Levi Strauss patented trousers, the term "blue jeans" had been long in use for various garments (including trousers, overalls, and coats), constructed from blue-colored denim. Originally designed for and , jeans became popular in the 1950s among , especially members of the subculture. Jeans were a common fashion item in the 1960s subculture and they continued to be popular in the 1970s and 1980s youth subcultures of and . Nowadays, they are one of the most popular types of trousers, especially in . Historic brands include , , and .
Origin of jean fabricA traditional women's Genoese dress in "blue jeans" (1890s)
Research on the trade of jean fabric shows that it emerged in the cities of , , and , France. Gênes, the French word for , may be the origin of the word "jeans". In Nîmes, weavers tried to reproduce jean fabric but instead developed a similar fabric that became known as denim, from de , meaning "from Nîmes". Genoa’s jean fabric was a textile of "medium quality and of reasonable cost", very similar to for which Genoa was famous, and was "used for work clothes in general". The equipped its sailors with jeans, as they needed a fabric which could be worn wet or dry. Nîmes’s "denim" was coarser, considered higher quality, and was used "for over garments such as smocks or overalls". Nearly all , needed for dyeing, came from indigo bush plantations in until the late 19th century. It was replaced by indigo synthesis methods developed in .Copper for reinforcing pockets are a characteristic feature of blue jeans.
By the 17th century, jean was a crucial textile for working-class people in Northern Italy. This is seen in a series of genre paintings from around the 17th century attributed to an artist now nicknamed The Master of the Blue Jeans. The ten paintings depict impoverished scenes with lower-class figures wearing a fabric that looks like denim. The fabric would have been Genoese jean, which was cheaper. Genre painting came to prominence in late 16th century, and the non-nobility subject matter in all ten paintings places them among others that portray similar scenes.
Dungaree was mentioned for the first time in the 17th century, when it was referred to as cheap, coarse thick cotton cloth, often colored blue but sometimes white, worn by impoverished people in what was then a region of , a dockside village called Dongri. This cloth was "dungri" in . Dungri was exported to and used for manufacturing of cheap, robust working clothes. In English, the word "dungri" became pronounced as "dungaree".
Origin of riveted jeans
The term jeans appears first in 1795, when a Swiss banker by the name and his brother Jacques went to Genoa and both were soon heading a flourishing commercial concern. In 1800 's troops entered the town and Jean-Gabriel was entrusted with their supply. In particular he furnished them with uniforms cut from blue cloth called "bleu de Genes" whence later derives the famous garment known worldwide as "blue jeans".
, as a young man in 1851, went from Germany to New York to join his older brothers who ran a goods store. In 1853, he moved to to open his own dry goods business. was a tailor who often bought bolts of cloth from the . house. In 1872, Davis wrote to Strauss asking to partner with him to patent and sell clothing reinforced with . The rivets were to reinforce the points of stress, such as pocket corners and at the bottom of the button fly. Levi accepted Davis's offer, and the two men received US patent No. 139,121 for an "Improvement in Fastening Pocket-Openings" on May 20, 1873.The classic label for Levi 501 jeans.
Davis and Strauss experimented with different fabrics. An early attempt was brown , a bottom-weight fabric. Finding denim a more suitable material for work-pants, they began using it to manufacture their riveted pants. The denim used was produced by an American manufacturer. Popular legend incorrectly states that it was imported from . A popular myth is that Strauss initially sold brown canvas pants to miners, later dyed them blue, turned to using denim, and only after Davis wrote to him, added rivets.
Initially, Strauss' jeans were simply sturdy trousers worn by , miners, farmers, and cattlemen throughout the North American West. During this period, men's jeans had the down the front, whereas women's jeans had the fly down the left side. When patented the modern, mass-produced prototype in the year 1873, there were two pockets in the front and one on the back with copper rivets. Later, the jeans were redesigned to today's industry standard of five pockets including a little watch pocket and copper rivets.
Fewer jeans were made during , but 'waist overalls' were introduced to the world by US soldiers, who sometimes wore them off duty. By the 1960s, both men's and women's jeans had the down the front. Historic photographs indicate that in the decades before they became a staple of fashion, jeans generally fit quite loosely, much like a pair of without the bib. Indeed, until 1960, Levi Strauss called its flagship product "waist overalls" rather than "jeans".
After popularized them in the movie , wearing jeans became a symbol of youth rebellion during the 1950s. During the 1960s the wearing of jeans became more acceptable, and by the 1970s it had become general fashion in the United States for casual wear.Leigh Jones, a recording artist wearing ripped jeans, 2009
Examples of intentional denim distressing strictly to make them more fashionable can be seen as early as 1935 in Vogue's June issue. Michael Belluomo, editor of Sportswear International Magazine, Oct/Nov 1987, P. 45, wrote that in 1965, Limbo, a boutique in the New York East Village, was "the first retailer to wash a new pair of jeans to get a used, worn effect, and the idea became a hit." He continued, "[Limbo] hired East Village artists to embellish the jeans with patches, decals, and other touches, and sold them for 0." In the early 1980s the denim industry introduced the technique developed by GWG also known as "Great Western Garment Co." Donald Freeland of pioneered the method, which helped to bring denim to a larger and more versatile market. Acceptance of jeans continued through the 1980s and 1990s. Originally an esoteric fashion choice, in the 2010s jeans may be seen being worn by men and women of all ages.
See also:Chemical structure of , the blue of blue jeans.
Traditionally, jeans were to a color using natural . Most denim is now dyed using synthetic indigo. Approximately 20 thousand tons of indigo are produced annually for this purpose, though only a few grams of the dye are required for each pair. For other colors of denim other dyes must be used. Currently, jeans are produced in any color that can be achieved with cotton.
For more information on dyeing, refer to and the discussion there of using pigment dyes.
In 1962 Levi Strauss introduced pre-shrunk jeans, which did not shrink further after purchase, allowing the consumer to purchase a correctly fitting size. These jeans were known as the 505 regular fit jeans. The 505 are almost identical to the 501s with the exception of the button-fly. The Levi's Corporation also introduced a slim boot-cut fit known as 517 and 527. The difference between the two is the 517s sit at the waist line and the 527s sit below the waist line. Later, Levi's would develop other styles and fits such as the loose, slim, comfort, relaxed, skinny, and a regular fit with a tapered leg.
Used and distressed looks
The used or "" look is created by means of abrading the jeans and/or treating them with chemicals, such as acryl resin, phenol, a hypochlorite, potassium permanganate, caustic soda, acids etc.
Ripping or of jeans, though also arising naturally as a result of wear and tear, is sometimes deliberately performed by suppliers - with distressed clothing sometimes selling for more than a nondistressed pair. For example, sold "embellished mid-rise boyfriend jeans" for £600 (US0).
Sandblasting or abrading with sandpaper
Consumers wanting jeans that appear worn can buy jeans that have been specially treated. To give the fabrics the worn look, or abrading with sandpaper is often done.
Environmental and humanitarian impact
A typical pair of blue jeans uses 919 gallons (3479 liters) of water during its life cycle. This includes the water to irrigate the cotton crop, manufacture the jeans, and the numerous washes by the consumer.
The production of jeans with a "used look" can be more environmentally damaging than regular jeans, depending on how the waste compounds are processed. Sandblasting and treating with sandpaper has the risk of causing to the workers, and in , more than 5,000 textile workers have been stricken with this disease, and 46 people are known to have died. Some companies have announced they are banning the use of sandblasting.
Care and wear
Despite most jeans being "pre-shrunk", they are still sensitive to slight further shrinkage and loss of color from being washed. The Levi Strauss company recommends avoiding washing jeans as much as possible. Carl Chiara, Levi Strauss director of brand and special projects, has a credo: The less you wash your jeans, the better your jeans become. These and other suggestions to avoid washing jeans where possible have encountered criticism. Cory Warren, editor of LS&Co. Unzipped, clarifies in a response to such a criticism:
Our advice is to wash less often, but clearly, you have to judge for yourself what's appropriate. Hot day, dirty job? Wash your jeans. Please! Cold day, office job? Maybe you can wear them twice or more before they go back to the washing machine. Personally, if I wear a pair of jeans to work on Friday—cool climate, office job—I tend to wear them on Saturday. And if Saturday is spent indoors and I'm not spilling food all over myself, I might even wear them on Sunday.
— Corey Warren
For those who prefer to refrain from washing their jeans there have been suggestions to freeze them in order to kill the germs that cause odor. However, this advice has been disputed as ineffective and replaced with the suggestion of baking them for ten minutes at 250 degrees Fahrenheit. (120 °C).
Jeans in the law
Jeans are covered under laws regarding . As well, there have been some notable legal cases involving jeans specifically:
In , , in 1992, a 45-year-old driving instructor was accused of rape. When he picked up an 18-year-old girl for her first driving lesson, he allegedly raped her for an hour, then told her that if she was to tell anyone he would kill her. Later that night she told her parents and her parents agreed to help her press charges. While the alleged rapist was convicted and sentenced, the overturned the conviction in 1998 because the victim wore tight jeans. It was argued that she must have necessarily had to help her attacker remove her jeans, thus making the act ("because the victim wore very, very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them...and by removing the jeans...it was no longer rape but consensual sex"). The Italian Supreme Court stated in its decision "it is a fact of common experience that it is nearly impossible to slip off tight jeans even partly without the active collaboration of the person who is wearing them." This ruling sparked widespread feminist protest. The day after the decision, women in the protested by wearing jeans and holding placards that read "Jeans: An Alibi for Rape". As a sign of support, the California Senate and Assembly followed suit. Soon Patricia Giggans, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women, (now Peace Over Violence) made an annual event. As of 2011 at least 20 U.S. states officially recognize Denim Day in April. Wearing jeans on this day has become an international symbol of protest against erroneous and destructive attitudes about sexual assault. As of 2008 the has overturned their findings, and there is no longer a "denim" defense to the charge of rape.
In 2014, an Indian family court in ruled that a husband objecting to his wife wearing a and jeans and forcing her to wear a amounts to cruelty inflicted by the husband and can be a ground to seek divorce. The wife was thus granted a divorce on the ground of cruelty as defined under section 27(1)(d) of Special Marriage Act, 1954.
Worldwide market for jeans
North America accounts for 39% of global purchases for jeans, followed by at 20%, Japan and Korea at 10% and the rest of the world at 31%.
United States consumers spent more than US billion on jeans in 2004 and US billion in 2005. US consumers bought US.8 billion of men's and women's jeans in the year that ended 30 April 2011, according to market-research firm NPD Group.
Jeans in the USSR
This section needs expansion. You can help by . (July 2015)
In the , jeans were the symbol of the way of life. The "jeans fever" in the USSR started in 1957 during the . According to a 1961 Russian textile dictionary, jeans were initially referred to as a "worker's uniform" (рабочий костюм, rabochii kostyum).
The jeans brand Rokotov and Fainberg is named after the defendants in the , who were executed for, among other things, trafficking in jeans.
Although not outright banned, jeans were hard to come by in USSR. It was seen as a symbol of rebellion by the Soviet youth who wanted to emulate the style of film and rock stars of the West. The resisted supplying the market with jeans as that would mean responding to the , a principle. People went to great lengths, sometimes resorting to violence and other illegal activities to obtain real Western made jeans. This led to the creation of and of jeans, which since has become an important cultural element in the .
Market-share shift to activewear
In 2014, teens were buying more and clothing from brands such as and over denim classics from brands like . in 2014 comprised 28% of teens' apparel purchases, up from 6% in 2008. In 2014, Nike, Lululemon, , and were the most popular brands for athletic apparel among teen consumers. Fashion retailers have begun to adjust their offerings accordingly. Bloomberg reports that Levi's, which is the world's most iconic denim company, stuck to its core product (denim) instead of adapting to consumer trends. As a result, Levi's sales decreased from over USD 7 billion to USD 4.8 billion in 2015.
Distressed denim emerged from the cultural movement in the 1970s. Early punks tore apart consumer goods as an expression of their anger towards society. Johnny Rotten of the manifested the British punk ideology, which was fighting against the status quo. Denim became a key target of this politically fueled deconstruction, with both men and women donning torn pants and jackets, accessorized with safety pins and slogans. The trend became popular again in the 1990s with the emergence of fashion. If punk was “anti-fashion”, grunge was “non-fashion”. The grunge youth wore loose-fitting ripped jeans, flannel shirts or woolen layered over T-shirts. Their anti-conformist approach to fashion led to the popularization of the casual chic look, a trend which continued into the 2000s.
Media reported in 2017 that the trend of , famous in 1990s and 2000s as , was coming back in fashion due to celebrities like endorsing it. Low-rise jeans are usually worn 2-3 inches or more below the navel.
How denim fabric is stored in the factory.
Automated cutting machines are used in RMG factory to cut the pieces.
P P Spray and P P Sponging being applied to jeans to give them a new look.
Adding 3D crunching, whiskers, and wrinkles to jeans to make them look more used.
Applying permanent wrinkles to jeans.
Hand scraping of jeans.
Resin treatment process on jeans.
Tacking on jeans (adds strength to high-stress areas).
Socks dyeing machine in a washing plant for washing jeans.
The process of washing and drying jeans.
The final steps of preparing jeans for market.
Checking the fit on a live model.
Quality checking and quality assurance.
Jeans denim pants are displayed for the buyer in the RMG factory showroom.
- Loverin, Jan (2006). (PDF). Nevada State Museum Newsletter. 36 (3): 4. Archived from (PDF) on April 29, 2013. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
- See, e.g., The Richmond Enquirer (Richmond, VA) March 25, 1823, wherein a paid notice described the ready-made apparel stolen by a thief : FIFTY DOLLARS REWARD, FOR JEREMIAH, or as he is commonly called Jerry Hatcher, lately a convict of the Penitentiary, who on the night of the 17th February last did break through my store and carry off a variety of goods, together with about in change and some ready made clothing, and has made his escape. He is about 4 1/2 or 5 feet high, stout and very well made, with light hair, and I expect has on blue Jeans coatee and brown pantaloons, as he took such from me and has been seen with them on. I expect he is either in Richmond, Petersburg or Lynchburg. Any person who will apprehend said Hatcher and deliver him to me, will meet with my thanks, and the above reward. BRIGHTBERRY BROWN [,] Red Mills, Buckingham [County, Virginia], March 14.
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- Bottom weight fabric is a heavier fabric suitable for pants or skirts (a.k.a. bottoms). Not necessarily a thick or heavy fabric but heavier than something that would be used to make a blouse or shirt.
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