Karl Lagerfeld had once said that a pair of jeans, a white shirt and a Chanel jacket can never go out of fashion.
He was right, of course, because these trousers are 163 years old.
It was in 1853 when Levi Strauss, owner of a clothing factory, noticed a pair of pants worn by Genoese sailors. It is in fact from this adjective that the distorted named of ‘jeans’ came about. Inspired by this garment, he created a brown, comfortable, resistant, cotton pair of jeans to satisfy cowboys’ and gold diggers’ needs – the first pair of LEVIs.
The success of these jeans came with immediate effect, so Levi decided to make them stronger with a new fabric from Nimes – the denim fabric. He also added belt loops, pockets and copper supports. In 1856, he founded Levi Strauss & Co. in San Francisco with his brothers Jonas and Luis, and his brothers-in-law David and William. In 1877, he founded the first farm in New England which was authorised to produce the jeans fabric.
During this period, the Levi’s 501 was born, along with the new tag that can be found on the pockets – a double arch made with an orange thread, and it was to be the first label on an American textile product.
Soon, jeans started to become trendy, and transformed into an emblem for whoever wanted an alternative, rebellious, free and independent life.
In 1935, the patent for the first jeans for women came about, and in 1937, they made their debut appearance in VOGUE Magazine.
In 1955, Wasted Youth was released in the cinemas, and James Dean donned the first pair of jeans brought to the American big screen – the Levi’s 501 Button Fly. Elvis Presley wore them for Jailhouse Rock in 1957, and actresses were equally enthralled by them, both on men and themselves.
If jeans are today seen as the staple average go-to trousers, they were the anti-fashion cloth back in the ’60s worn by young offbeat rebels. Every rock band wore jeans, amphibians, T-shirts and leather jackets.
’70s fashion brands then took possession of these trousers, and hippies capitalised on the style. Cool bell-bottoms, frayed and rider jeans epitomised this period. Once the 80s came along, the power-dressing yuppies wore signed jeans, a new trend for luxury ready-to-wear.
Then LEVI catapulted back to glory with the boyfriend pattern during the 90s, where the bell bottom was also back in style, while the 2000s saw super skinny jeans and with low-rise waists.
Every age and gender now dons jeans. With so many patterns and shades being introduced by fashion houses, production is developing day by day and, after 163 years, this item of clothing is loved in every part of the world.