Never has there been a more enduring and reinvented item of clothing than denim jeans. Starting life as a purely functional trouser for miners, denim jeans are now one of the most popular items of clothing in the western world and are seen on everyone from babies to pensioners and every celebrity and glamorous fashion lover in between.
Birth of denim jeans
Denim jeans began life in the US after German-born Levi Strauss started a dry goods store in California in the 1850s. In this store he sold strong cotton cloth and when a client, a tailor named Jacob Davis, was asked to make some hardwearing trousers for a customer of his own, he bought his cloth from Strauss. He added copper rivets for extra durability, the two decided to patent these jeans and the world of clothing changed forever.
The move to fashion
Denim jeans and dungarees remained the dominion of farm hands, miners and manual labourers for many years; in fact, it was not until the 1950s that the first counter culture of youth developed and jeans become a fashion statement rather than workwear. Stars such as James Dean – who wore jeans in the film Rebel without a Cause – were largely credited with making them so popular. The rebellious association meant they were banned in schools and even theatres and restaurants, which made them more appealing to an ever more fashion conscious and defiant youth movement.
By the 1960s and 70s, jeans had become an established fashion item and were accepted by large swathes of society and were no longer just the domain of the rebel. In the 60s jeans were given a makeover with large flares, while in the 70s a more flattering bootcut look was invented. The 80s saw baggy, straight leg jeans, while the 90s saw a rebirth of flare and boot cut jeans. The 00s saw the new skinny style jean, epitomised by rock culture and celebrities such as Kate Moss.
Today there is no right and no wrong pair of jeans – all are considered classically stylish. It is easy to buy whatever style you want, including women’s skinny designer jeans from retailers such as http://www.cuba-clothing.com/womens/jeans.html, at the click of a button.
Jeans are not going anywhere and today we see denim skirts, dresses, tops and even shoes.