Blue jeans celebrated their 145th birthday on Sunday May 20th — from getting the patent for non-ripping trousers in 1873 to the memorable moment when Britney and Justin rocked double denim at the AMAs, they’ve been through a lot. Fashion brand and retailers of denim dresses, QUIZ have decided to have a look at the history of the blue jeans.
The patent of the blue jean
The first iconic moment in blue jean history has to be when it was patented. It was tailor, Jacob Davis who came up with the idea of long-lasting trousers with pockets that wouldn’t rip. He then partnered with Levi Strauss & Co. in 1871 and a patent was obtained on May 20 of 1973. Levis are probably one of the most known brands of blue jeans even to this day.
Before they were fashionable, blue jeans were first called “waist overalls” and were worn as work-wear for labour workers in mines, factories in fields. They then slowly transformed into a wardrobe staple for all.
Their adaption for hip-hop fashion
In the mid-1990s and early 2000s, hip-hop fashion was characterised by oversized clothing, including wide-legged baggy jeans. Sagged waists were popular too —revealing the wearer’s underwear as part of the fashion statement. The trend took off amongst hip-hop fans too who paraded their boxers in the street all in the name of style. Thankfully, this iconic era was short-lived. I had a pair of wide legged, baggy jeans in 2002 which my parents hated. They used to drag along the floor and soak up all of the rain water.
Starting Kate Moss’s career
In 1992, Kate Moss was photographed topless alongside aspiring rapper at the time, Mark Wahlberg, in her Calvin Klein jeans and media coverage of the commercial exploded. Although she was relatively unknown at the time, this was the photo that started her career.
Britney and Justin’s AMAs outfits
On January 8th 2001, Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake stepped onto the red carpet to make their mark in denim history. Their matching denim-on-denim ensembles were certainly memorable. Britney wore a fitted floor-length denim dress with a sweetheart neckline while her beau at the time wore an all-denim outfit — even complete with a hat made out of the material. Katy Perry and rapper Riff Raff recreated the iconic moment at the MTV VMAs in 2014.
Becoming a wardrobe staple
Once denim went mainstream, it became a fashion staple for many. Everyone has at least one pair of jeans in their wardrobe and a lot of people wear them everyday. And, today, not much has changed. In fact, the global denim market is worth around $56 billion, 59% of consumers in the US said that they “love or enjoy wearing denim” and the average US consumer has seven pairs of jeans in their wardrobe! The top three leading players in the blue jean industry are Levi Strauss & Co, Wrangler and Diesel.
The priciest pair of jeans bought at an auction
According to the Guinness Book of Records, in June 2005, an original pair of Levi Strauss & Co 501 jeans were sold to an anonymous collector in Japan for $60,000 through eBay. There is said to be only two or three pairs of authentic Levi’s 501 jeans in existence which explains the high cost and why they are so sought after. The pair that was auctioned were still wearable too — discovered in an abandoned silver mine in 1998. It’s thought that the slurry and mud from the mine was what kept the jeans in good condition.
The largest pair of jeans
In 2009, the world’s largest jeans were created by Larbi Bouqamha and students from Institut Arabe de la Mode in Tunisia. The trousers are 50.10metres tall, 36 m wide and weigh an astounding 1 tonne. 1,600m of fabric and 15,000m of thread were used to make the jeans and it took the designer one month to create them with the help of 15 students. When they were put on display in a local football stadium, it took 40 people to move the jeans! I think these are too big for even Hagrid to wear!
Ripped jeans are a fashion trend that everyone can get on board with, but the latest blue jean trend (which will likely be remembered in years to come) is extreme cut-out jeans. You may have seen people walking around with massive cut outs in the thighs of their jeans – a lot of people tend to wear fishnets underneath to add a bit of extra something to an outfit. Taking it to an extreme – the latest designs by denim company Carmar is a pair of jeans that are missing the entire leg. Despite the lack of material, this pair of jeans is on sale for $168 — hopefully this isn’t a trend that catches on, although it certainly is memorable!