segunda-feira, 7 de julho de 2008

denim historical evolution

the history of denim, the fabric phenomenon
of the last centuries: the 18th century
in the eighteenth century as trade, slave labour,
and cotton plantations increased, workers wore jean cloth
because the material was very strong and it did not wear out easily.

the 19th century: the california gold rush
the gold miners wanted clothes that were strong and did not
tear easily. in 1853, leob strauss started a wholesale business,
supplying clothes. strauss later changed his name from leob to levi.

the 1930's: westerns
cowboys - who often wore jeans in the movies-became very popular.

the 1940's: war
fewer jeans were made during the time of world war 2,
but they were introduced to the world by american soldiers,
who sometimes wore them when they were off duty. after the war,
rival companies, like wrangler and lee, began to compete with
levi for a share of the international market.

the 1950's: rebels
ìn the 1950's, denim became popular with young people.
it was the symbol of the teenage rebel in TV shows
and movies (james dean in the 1955 movie rebel without a cause).
some schools in the USA banned students from wearing denim.

the 1960-70's: hippies & the cold war
different styles of jeans were made, to match the 60's fashions:
embroidered jeans, painted jeans, psychedelic jeans...
in many non-western countries, jeans became a symbol of
' western decadence' and were very hard to get.

the 1980's: designer jeans
in the 1980's jeans became high fashion clothing, when famous
designers started making their own styles of jeans, with their
own labels on them. sales of jeans went up and up.

the 1990's: recession
although denim is never completely out of style, it certainly goes
out of 'fashion' from time to time. in these years the youth market
wasn't particularly interested in 501s and other traditional
jeans styles, mainly because their parents: the' generation born
in blue' were still busy squeezing their aging bodies into them.
since no teenager would be caught dead in anything their parents
are wearing, the latest generation of rebellious youth turned to
other fabrics and other styles of casual pants, such as khakis,
chinos, combat and carpenters and branded sportswear pants.
they still wore denim, but it had to be in different finishes,
new cuts, shapes, styles, or in the form of aged, authentic,
vintage jeans, discovered in markets, secondhand- and thrift shops,
not conventional jeans stores. levi strauss & co., the number-one
producer of jeans and the "single most potent symbol of american
style on planet earth" (as the los angeles times succinctly put it),
is in trouble. eleven north american factories close, a nation grieves.

2000: reinventing denim
something decidedly weird is happening in the world of denim.
the products need to be reinvented from time to time and jeans
has been back on designers catwalks, at chanel, dior, chloe
and versace. the single most potent symbol of fashion, summer '99
tom ford's feathered, beaded, beat-up, torn-knee gucci blue jeans,
seen globally, sell out instantaneously at $3715 a pop.
and then, on the internet, was the shining image of helmut lang's
silver-sprayed pants, striding out beyond our conception of
basic utility. freed of all social and creative restrictions, denim is
assuming any number of disguises and contexts to be worn in
and has broken through almost any limitation on price.
it can also be found in home collections, appearing in cushions,
bed spreads and furniture-coverings.

but if denim is making a major fashion statement,
where does that leave the traditional jeans brands?
the old mass market has segmented, fragmented, shattered into
a multitude of mini, micro and niche markets. the last generation
has a vast quantity of brands to choose from, a different perception
of the cult value of owning small insider labels and a fanatical loyalty
only to what's hot on a daily basis.
levis has recently launched in europe and set to be introduced to
the US market in autumn his 'engeneered jeans', which are
ergonomically designed and preshaped to follow the contours
of the body. 'visionaire' - in the high drama, high class, high-heeled
world of fashion publishing, a limited edition magazine that costs
an uncompromising £150 ,collaborates for their issue 31
(february 2000) with levi's on the theme blue.
levi's and the dutch design agency 'droog' have collaborated to
reinvent the 501 cult classic 'levi's red line',showcased in february
at the paris' design store colette , at jones in london and in april at
the milan furniture fair. not enough, after three years of sluggish sales,
the san francisco-based company is desperately trying to regain
brand status. in 1999, levi's sales totaled $5.1 billion, down 28 %
from $7.1 billion in 1996. they now announced the launch of a new
advertising and marketing campaign called 'make them your own'.
the campaign is one of levi's most aggressive sales pitches to date.
the theme is narcissistic youth, featuring young people checking
themselves out in their blue jeans. all of the ads target 18 to
24-year-olds, the consumer segment that levi's lost to competitive
brands like tommy hilfiger and gap. while the budget for the
campaign was not disclosed, industry analysts are billing it as the
largest advertising effort in levi's history.

denim and jeans - where do the names come from?
the word jeans comes from a kind of material that was made in europe.
the material, called jean, was named after sailors from genoa in italy,
because they wore clothes made from it. the word 'denim' probably
came from the name of a french material, serge de nimes:
serge (a kind of material) from nimes (a town in france).

traditional denim
durable twill-woven cotton fabric with coloured (usually blue) warp
and white filling threads; it is also woven in coloured stripes.

a big problem with the miners' clothes were the pockets,
which easily tore away from the jeans. jacob davis had the idea of
using metal rivets (fasteners) to hold the pockets and the jeans
together so that they wouldn't tear. davis wanted to patent his idea,
but he didn't have enough money, so in 1872, he wrote to levi strauss
and offered strauss a deal if strauss would pay for the patent and
strauss accepted.

in 1886, levi sewed a leather label on their jeans. the label showed a
picture of a pair of jeans that were being pulled between two horses.

who started to pre-wash them?
jack spence for lee

who started with stone-wash?
francois girbaud

what stones where used?
first pea gravel, then pomice, because they floate around with the jeans,
nstead of lying in the bottom of the water; turkish stones are preferred
for their porosity and cleanliness or stones from sicily,
but their supply is limited.

who started sandblasting?
different brands used it in 1988 in italy

denim is no longer a cotton only product
denims come with either polyamide, lycra, polypropylene or with
polyester and a special bonding with a 100% nylon net for a more
active look. twoway stretch fabrics and special coatings or rubberised
effects continue to be a strong trend

the shabby, rotten or dirty look
in line with the trend for a vintage denim looks set to be around with
the 'homespun look' with his irregular appearance.
lighter, softer denims in dress and shirting weights were introduced.
various natural fibres, such as linen, hemp or wool and for the luxe
looks even silk and cashmere are turning up in new denims to give
them different aesthetics.

why is denim blue?
denim is unique in it's singular connection with one colour.
the warp yarn is traditionally dyed with the blue pigment obtained
from indigo dye. until the introduction of synthetic dyes, at the end of
the 19th century, indigo was the most significant natural dye known
to mankind, linked with practical fabrics and work clothing. the durability
of indigo as a colour and it's darkness of tone made it a good choice,
when frequent washing was not possible. In 1870 BASF in germany,
originally suppliers of natural indigo had started the search for a synthetic
substitute, in 1894 the process was perfected.

this lesson on denim has been partially elaborated using extracts from:

- 'deconstructing denim' by ros hibbert, 'textile view' spring 2000

- 'the history of jeans' see

- 'the denim survival guide' see

Um comentário:

Miss at la Playa disse...

what would happen if denim didn't exist? :P