FASHION HISTORY: THE ORIGINS OF JEANS

by admin on May 5, 2011

vintage levi's

here is something  to which esme had never really given much thought—why and when were jeans invented?  you might think esme would have pondered this question concerning one of the most ubiquitous items of apparel, and one which esme, along with billions of others, wears almost daily.  however, i fear this is one of those situations in which esme has taken the familiar for granted.  naughty esme!  try not to do this!

well anyway, jeans were invented circa 1850 during the california gold rush.  (you can see that esme’s history class is advancing rapidly through the centuries and has finally reached what feels like known territory).  levi strauss (yes, that one), in a burst of entrepreneurial zeal, brought a quantity of heavy canvas to san francisco to sell to the miners for tents.  he overheard the miners complaining about their pants wearing out, and came up with the brilliant idea of making sturdy work pants out of denim fabric.  he chose to dye them blue (historians do not tell us why), and their popularity spread by word of mouth.

blue jeans became an essential item of work attire for farmers, cowboys, laborers and the like.  trademark features such as riveted pockets, a double arc in orange on the back pockets, and a leather patch with horses were added gradually over the years.  the brand grew into the 20th century.  belt loops were added in 1922, a red tab on the back pockets in 1937, and zippers were eventually added as late as 1954!

now don’t you just wish you had saved some of your ancient levi’s?  or even better, don’t you wish your grandfather had passed on some of his?  esme recalls that one her first jobs (at harper and row publishers in san francisco), had offices in the levi strauss building!

dusted with gold,

esme

Share

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: