Denim jeans have been a wardrobe essential for decades, but why? How is it that such a simple fabric can be tried and tested time after time and still to this day be one of the biggest fashion trends around the world? FIB does some investigative work and finds out for you.
Jeans that originally started out as high waisted Levis have moved into the trends such as bootleg, flares, skinny, super skinny, boyfriend, girlfriend, mom and now circling back to the classics with their own twist making them one of the most versatile clothing options you can have. So what’s the trend now? Let’s go back in time with a little history lesson on how jeans came to life..
The jean pants were first invented by Jacob Davis and Levis Strauss in 1873. Levi Strauss came to New York in 1851 to join his older brother who had a dry goods store. In 1853 he heard about Gold Rush in the West so moved to San Francisco to establish Western Branch of the family dry goods business. 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, so he made them from the denim that he bought from Levi Strauss & Co. and made them stronger by placing copper rivets at the pockets and flies. He then wrote to Levi Strauss, and they became partners. Ultimately introducing to the world – jeans, a godsend really.
Being ‘working clothes’ at first, men’s jeans had the zipper down the front, while women’s jeans had the zipper at the left side and both were designed to fit loosely and in form of overalls. Interestingly enough in 1950s jeans without the bib became symbol of youth rebellion after James Dean popularized them in the movie “Rebel without a Cause”.
Back to the present, with so many jean styles to choose from now it’s easy to feel indecisive, standing in front of your mirror wearing your trusty, but not to mention, incredibly uncomfortable skinny jeans and tossing up on whether to pull on those boyfriends jeans instead because (1) comfort and (2) more room for food…The struggle is real.
One thing that hasn’t changed, jeans are still a must in every wardrobe, so which style must you have? Gone are the days when people would find one style and stick to it. Enter the new age fashion rule that has people building their denim wardrobe with different shapes, cuts, washes and finishes according to what they want to wear that day. Looking to social media, style gurus, fashion runways and celebrity stylists we can see that people everywhere are opting for more of a casual, comfortable look. Jeans have also always been a popular go-to for that off-duty model look. Throughout the decades we’ve seen our favourite supermodels sporting their must-haves. For so many, Kate Moss created the skinny jean…or at least the trend. Still a staple amongst the elite just last week we had Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid sporting their denim jeans in-between shows at Paris Fashion Week.
To give credit where credit is due we have the street style stars and social media to thank for bringing the latest ‘it’ styles to our attention and changing our perception of what looks cool. The whole mindset has almost changed now in the way we’re now looking at fashion with a sense of practicality and comfort rather than the whole “pain is beauty” mindset. Designers are now being influenced by what people are wearing on the streets rather than designers influencing people. So what does this mean? Well for one, you can bet you’ll find your new favourite styles a lot quicker and cheaper too and in other ways you get to make the rules and go with what you think feels best for you. What a time to be alive!
Which brings me back to my initial question, why is it exactly that the denim jean trend never seems to fade into fashion history? Could it come down to it’s versatility? Is it because of it’s star studded fan squad? These factors could very well possibly aid its sales and desirability sure but its mostly due to the fact that people are taking something so simple and constantly putting their own twist on it, recreating what once was a simple design and making it into something that shows off their personality whether that be in the style of rips and tears creating a distressed grungy feel or throwing on a pair of baggy mom jeans for a more relaxed Sunday session feel. Either way it’s here to stay.