Hello Coco and Mainers! Today we are introducing a new type of post that we periodically want to publish, one that helps you develop your style and your mind! Every so often we will talk about a trend or mainstay in fashion and its journey through time as a fashion staple. Let us know in the comments what kind of trends/fabrics/designers you want us to highlight in the future! Now, take out your notepad, and let's get started.
*Note: all sources used for this post are credited at the end of the post
Denim Jeans: Dusty and Humble Beginnings
While denim as a fabric has a very long history (beginning in Italy) it has nearly always been used as a work-type fabric for laborers and the working class. However, jeans as we know them in America today originated in California, during the height of the gold rush, where single men and sometimes whole families migrated to California from all over the country to find their fortune from the supposedly abundant nuggets of gold found in the American River. The gold rush started in 1848, when John Marshall, a loveable curmudgeon (who I am sure actually was very intelligent), found a glittering piece of gold in the American River near Sutter's Mill. This led many, many individuals to settle in the foothills of Northern California, seeking their fortune. However, most of these people didn't actually find their fortune; the real 1% turned out to be suppliers of tools and work clothes, which is where our next major players now make their appearance.
We wish the women back during the Gold Rush could be able to enjoy the comfort of our Zodiac Overalls!
Levi Strauss (yes, that Levi Strauss) was originally from Bavaria, and had moved to New York after his father died, starting a wholesale dry goods store. After hearing about all the traffic going towards the West, he decided to make a little bit of money, and head out there himself. He set up shop in San Francisco, naming it "Levi Strauss & Co.", and became wildly successful
Rivets: A Star is Born
Jacob Davis was a sensible tailor who often bought cloth from Levi Strauss & Co., and wrote to Strauss to ask if he could go in with him on the idea of rivets being introduced to work pants. Rivets are the little circular fasteners that increase the strength of the garment at the points of stress, so like where zippers or pockets are. The idea was probably to help miners realize their dream of stuffing their pockets with gold, which didn't really happen for anyone. Any how, Strauss loved this idea, and began introducing rivets on denim work pants. These were not what you and I wear today; in fact, denim back then was considered pretty much solely for labor and could even stand upright on their own!
These pants were so popular that in 1873, that Strauss developed the main idea of what we see jeans as today, with the standard of 5 pockets and zipper down the front (although women originally had a zipper down the side)!
The Denim American Dream
Throughout the years after the patented technology of rivets on denim pants, styles and preferences have changed drastically. Until around the 1960s, most denim pants were baggy and not necessarily considered fashionable (there were a lot of country bumpkin style overalls), but after James Dean wore cuffed jeans in the movie Rebel Without a Cause, teens saw it as a rebellious and simply cool wardrobe staple. The denim footprint was shown throughout the following eras as pedal pushers, bell bottoms, acid wash pieces, JNCO jeans (which I am told was a blemish on the face of American fashion), skinny jeans, denim culottes, daisy dukes, skinny jeans, and so much more. What once was a symbol of toughness and hard work and maybe desperate dreams has evolved into a unifying form of fashion that can be seen in all income levels and regions of the USA, really unifying us a whole and showing how much fashion affects us as a society.
Now that you have had an extremely brief and condensed history lesson about denim jeans, take a look at our wonderful denim pieces that you can wear this summer and complete your patriotic wardrobe!
Aurora Tie-Waist Denim Shorts
Denim Roll Cuff Joggers
Thanks for reading, and as usual, every item seen here can be found on our online store! Let us know what other very brief, condensed histories you would like to read!