Hardwearing, comfy and unmistakable. Denim, is a well-known fabric derived from moleskin, made in cotton with a twill weave, and characterised by its deep indigo colour, the result of plant-based dyes, as well as by an infinite number of shades created using different washes and finishes. Denim has become a genuine icon in the world of fashion, following a surprising evolution over the course of its history.
The birth of a legend: from Europe to the USA
The origin of denim, unlike what is generally thought, dates right back to the Middle Ages, when in the south of France, in Nimes (hence the name “de-Nimes”), a particular, extremely hardwearing fabric was being made from cotton and indigo linen and used for work clothing. At the same time, in the port of Genoa, sailors and workers were wearing work clothes made in a tough blue moleskin from Chieri in Piedmont, known as bleu de Gênes, which gives us the term blue jeans. Trade with Genoese took denim to America, where in 1853, Levi Strauss began making 5-pocket trousers in this fabric, for miners, gold prospectors and cowboys. Jeans became one of the most popular items of clothing in the period; suffice to say that even Garibaldi was wearing jeans during the landing of the Thousand in Marsala, and that these are now on display at the Museum of the Risorgimento in Roma.
Jeans in the 20th century - a question of politics and style.
In the early decades of the 20th century, denim clothing, including the classic shirt with two button pockets on the chest, began to be worn outside the workplace, going on to become a definitive wardrobe staple in the period after theSecond World War, thanks to US film and music icons such as James Dean, Marlon Brando or Elvis Presley. In the 1960s, with the student protests, jeans became something of a political statement, a symbol of young people’s rebellionagainst social conventions and at the same time, a simple, egalitarian piece of clothing that brought them all together. Later, denim began a rapid climb in the fashion scene, becoming the symbol for hippies in the 1970s and then making it to the catwalks for the most important fashion shows, where it earned its place as the genuine must have in every wardrobe.
Jeans are the first truly global, democratic item of clothing, transcending all cultures and confines, to be worn by the star system and students with the same casual style, in a host of different models and patterns. A fabric that has become a genuine style, known as “jeanswear”, based on the colour and appeal of this iconic piece of history.
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