As one of the most widely worn articles of clothing, denim jeans are something you probably have at least one pair of your closet but probably more considering most Americans have on average about 7 pairs of jeans. They're unisex, versatile and can be worn at any age. "Blue" jeans were first seen in the 16th century and were originally popular amoung the working class due to the inexpensinve nature and durability of the product. Denim itself was invented as far back as the 1500s in Genoa, Italy to be worn by the Italian navy. And while denim started as something worn for utility and function it has since become vastly used to produce everything from high end luxury jeans to handbags and shoes.
Levi Strauss is thought of as the inventor of the blue jean and popularised them in the 1870s. May 20th is thought of as the birthday of the blue jean as that is the day he patented the idea. He himself never wore a pair of his own product as he felt it was below him due to the fact that blue jeans were for the working class. And before the 1950s jeans weren't referred to as jeans. They were commonly called overalls. Levi jeans are still one of the most popular and widely known brands of jeans today. And while they have always been referred to as "blue" jeans they are actually produced using indigo dyes. Unfortunately this dying process is known to be extremebly detrimental to the workers and the environment with denim production being one of the worst parts of the apparel industy. And with 7.5 billion feet of denim and 450 million pairs of jeans being produced every year the effect is astronomical. It's also known to be one of the items most widely produced in sweatshops in 3rd world countries with the majority of denim being worn by people in the Western world.
One bale of cotton can produce about 225 pairs of jeans. And while traditional jeans are made from 100% cotton the rise of the skinny jean has seen the addition of elastane. This allows for the comfort and movement of stretch. Some have even taken it as far as creating the "jegging" a combination of jeans and leggings which has a much higher content of elastane or spandex to creating a super stretchy bottom. With the addition of higher quantity of those additives the jean becomes less structured and loses its classic appearance making them a more casual piece of apparel.
Jeans are also known to be the first article of clothing to have a labelled sewn on. Back in 1936 a small red flag label was sewn onto the back pocket of a pair of Levi's jeans. Customization of jeans has increased since that time with distressing being one of the most popular. Rips, fading, raw hems and an overall worn look can make teh garment actually cost more money but the look can also be acheived at home for those who aren't afraid to try a little DIY. Turing jeans into jeans shorts or full length into ankle length is an easy way reinvent an old piece of clothing in your closet.
Always wondered what that tiny pocket within the regular pocket is for? It was originally designed for a pocket watch. Now most people don't often use it as its small size doesn;t work well for most of our items today. However jeans are continued to be made with this small pocket to give the look of original garment which became so popular in our society.