Jeans are pants made from denim or dungaree cloth. They were invented by Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss in 1873.
They were named after the city of Genoa in Italy, a place where cotton corduroy, called either jean or jeane, was manufactured.
Levi Strauss journeyed from Germany to New York in 1851 to join his older brother who had a dry goods store. In 1853 he heard about the Gold Rush in the West so moved to San Francisco to establish a branch of the family dry goods business.
There he sold, among other things, cotton cloth. One of his customers was Jacob W. Davis, a tailor from Reno, Nevada. Davis made functional items such as tents, horse blankets and wagon covers.
One day, his customer ordered a pair of sturdy pants that could withstand hard work. He made them from denim that he bought from Levi Strauss & Co and made them stronger by placing copper rivets at the places pants rip the most: pockets and flies.
Jacob Davis tried to patent the idea but didn’t have the money to file the papers, so he suggested to Levi Strauss in 1872 that the two of them hold the patent. Levi liked the idea and on May 20, 1873, the two men received patent no.139,121 from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Levi hired Jacob to oversee production of the riveted pants at his factory - the Levi Strauss & Co. Denim came from Amoskeag Mill in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Jeans were working clothes at first and had a bib. They were made from durable materials and were durable.
Men's jeans had the zipper down the front, while women's had it to the left side. Both were designed to fit loosely like overalls.
In the 1950s jeans without the bib (dungarees) became a symbol of youth rebellion after James Dean (pictured) popularised them in the movie “Rebel without a Cause”. They were banned in schools, theatres and restaurants.
They became more acceptable in the 1960s and by the seventies they were accepted as a fashion item.
In 1965, Limbo, a boutique in the New York East Village, was the first retailer to wash a new pair of jeans to make them look used and worn out, decorated them with patches and decals and sold them for $200. The trend took off and jeans in many guises have never been out of fashion since.Read Full Article