Jeans are pants, or trousers, made from denim. Mainly designed for work, they became popular among teenagers starting in the 1950s. Historic brands include Levi's, Lee and Wrangler.
Jeans are now a very popular form of casual dress around the world, and have been so for decades. They come in many styles and colors; however, "blue jeans" are particularly identified with American culture, especially the American Old West. The American population spent more than $14 billion on jeans in 2004.
Trousers made from corduroy or canvas are sometimes incorrectly called jeans. However, traditionally the word "jeans" referred exclusively to trousers made out of denim.
The word "jeans" comes from the French phrase bleu de Gênes, literally the blue of Genoa. Jeans fabric, or denim, originated independently in two places: the French town of Nîmes, which 'denim' owes its name to; and in India, where trousers made of denim material were worn by the sailors of Dhunga, which came to be known as dungarees.
At around the same time, denim trousers were made in Chieri, a town near Turin (Italy), during the Renaissance, and were popularised in the 16th century. These trousers were sold through the harbour of Genoa, which was the capital of the independent Republic of Genoa which was a naval power.
Early examples of these trousers were made for the Genoese Navy, which required all-purpose pants for its sailors. They required pants that could be worn wet or dry, the legs of which could easily be rolled up to wear while swabbing the deck. These jeans were laundered by dragging them in large mesh nets behind the ship, and the exposure to sea water and sun would gradually bleach them to white. They were especially worn by Genoan sailors and stevedores who worked in France.
Traditionally, jeans are dyed to a blue color using indigo dye. Approximately 20 million tons of indigo are produced annually for this purpose, though only a few grams of the dye are required for each pair of trousers.
A German-Jewish dry goods merchant Levi Strauss was selling blue jeans under the "Levi's" name to the mining communities of California in the 1850s. One of Strauss's customers was Jacob Davis, a tailor who frequently purchased bolts of cloth from the Levi Strauss & Co. wholesale house. After one of Davis's customers kept purchasing cloth to reinforce torn pants, he had an idea to use copper rivets to reinforce the points of strain, such as on the pocket corners and at the top of the button fly. Davis did not have the required money to purchase a patent, so he wrote to Strauss suggesting that they both go into business together. After Strauss accepted Davis's offer, the two men received U.S. Patent 139,121, for an "Improvement in Fastening Pocket-Openings," on May 20, 1873.
In 1885 jeans could be purchased in the US for $1.50 (approximately $34 in 2007). Today, an equivalent pair of jeans can be purchased for around $50-80, but more stylish pairs can cost much more. Many pairs of jeans are currently available for much less.
Fits of jeans are determined by current styles, sex, and by the manufacturer. Here are some of the fits produced for jeans:
* Ankle Jeans
* Baggy jeans
* Boy cut
* Carpenter jeans
* High waist cut
* Jorts (Jean shorts)
* Low-rise jeans/Hip-huggers
* Phat pants
One of the most interesting things about an old pair of jeans is the unique patterns of wear and tear that are worn into the denim over time. Specialist denim store Self Edge wanted to see what a pair of jeans would look like after they were given a real battering, so that gave a pair of Sugarcane 1947 Jeans to Broox, a chef at one of their local restaurants in San Franciso.
Broox chooses to live of the streets not because he is down and out or an addict but because he finds one home too constricting and prefers life outdoors. The jeans were worn 24/7 between November 2006 to July 2007 and as you can see the resulting fading, fraying, tears and repairs gives a vivid visual representation of the wearer's experience over that time (Source: Superfuture)
Evisu was formally born in Osaka, Japan in 1991 although the research and planning necessary to reproduce the perfect pair of vintage jeans had been going on for several years prior to this.The founder, and still the owner, of Evisu is Hidehiko Yamane.
Yamane-san was trained as a tailor but his love for vintage jeans and his disappointment with the mass-produced modern versions led him firstly, to the vintage clothing import business and then, revolutionarily, to start putting together the elements required reproducing vintage-style jeans.
This required the gathering together of all the various bits of machinery, none of which had been produced for at least 40 years, which are required to make authentic vintage jeans.
The initial production line allowed about 14 pairs of jeans a day to be produced and each of them was lovingly hand-painted with the now famous seagull logo by Yamane-san himself. Evisu (also written as Evis or Ebisu) is the name of the Japanese Buddhist god of money who is usually portrayed with a fish and fishing rod.
This name was selected for the new venture as money and fishing are two of Yamane-san's five favourite things (the others being beer, women and golf - in no particular order).Although initially Evisu was more a labour of love than a commercial venture, Evisu jeans captured the imagination of the detail-obsessed, Japanese fashion crowd, spurring a revival of interest in vintage denim which has now spread around the world.
In the early nineties Yamane-san introduced a tailoring line, followed by a fishing range and a golf range. In 1999 he introduced a ladies fashion line called Evisu Donna to complete the development of Evisu as a full-fashion range going far beyond a jeans brand. Evisu now has 25 shops in Japan.
In 1994 Yamane-san was visited by Peter Caplowe who became an immediate convert to the Evisu ethos. They formed a partnership to develop Evisu outside Japan that now spans the globe, selling in 400 of the world's best boutiques and department stores. Despite this phenomenal growth Evisu still remains true to its artisan roots with a fanatical devotion to quality and authenticity while maintaining those two other vital ingredients of the Evisu magic potion - humor and irreverence.