Blue denim jeans have become a mainstay of apparel in the modern world. While they sometimes increase or decrease as a fashion item they are always part of the wardrobe. Everyone has at least one pair of sturdy denim jeans in their closest and it is most likely blue. The history of blue jeans and how they came about is incredibly fascinating and shows how important this clothing item is not only to fashion but to wider society.
For many people, the beginning of blue jeans was when James Dean wore them but the reality is that their conception was far earlier. To talk about the beginning of blue jeans we need to go all the way back to the beginning of denim. Denim was created by accident in the 1700s. Italy was producing sturdy cotton and many other fashion leaders around the world were trying to copy it. In France, they attempted to create this cotton fabric but ended up with something far coarser and more durable. The fabric was created in the city of Nimes in France. As it came from Nimes (or “de Nimes” as they say in French) it soon became known as denim.
The blue color came from indigo dye. To create the denim textile one type of thread was dyed blue while the other type remained white. The only step remaining was to take this blue denim and create the famous jeans we know today. While Levi Strauss is famous for the creation of the jeans it was a man named Jacob Davis that started it all. He was approached by miners because the durable pants they were wearing were breaking in certain parts. He added a rivet to the jeans and created a sturdier product. It was a massive success and Davis realized that he had caught onto something huge. He didn’t have the money to file a patent so he contacted the more successful Strauss and they went into business together.
The blue denim jeans that they created were ideal for workers across America. Minders, factory workers, farmers, and cattle ranchers all needed a pair. They were a key item of clothing for soldiers too and people soon started to wear them even when they weren’t working. By the time 1955 came around and James Dean was seen wearing a pair in the movie Rebel without a cause, they were already a fashion item. Yet Dean made them mean something. The jeans now became a symbol of rebellion of standing out. It is ironic to think that everyone was so desperate to stand out that they all started to look the same as they tried to copy Dean.
For a while, the jeans were associated with trouble makers as a result and in many places they were banned. Yet by the 1960s they became more than acceptable. Designer companies were not trying to get in on the act but the Levi brand was still number one. The punk movement of 1970 would see jeans with holes in them and faded colors become popular too. The jeans had now gone to a completely new level of fashion. To think they were once worn for practical reasons they were now being deliberately released with holes in the knees and leg.
Fashion has always been a symbol of personality and beliefs. The blue denim jeans have been a fashion mainstay for nearly 80 years and they are likely to stick around for a lot longer. The comfort and security felt when wearing a nice pair of blue jeans is hard to beat. Who knows where fashion will take this item next.