The History of Denim & How It Became Such A Fashion Staple

Denim jeans have become such a vital part of everyday life that most of us never think about where our favorite pair originated from, how they were made, or their history. Despite the availability of new materials, denim remains one of the most adaptable, durable, and sought-after textiles on the market. Jeans transcend gender, age, and class, with the majority of individuals owning more pairs than days in the week. The appeal of denim jeans will always remain ageless, yet the design and fabric technology will always advance with the times.

While historians continue to question where denim originated, the fabric was classified as a twill weave cloth with one colored thread and one white thread. According to popular belief, it was “born” in Nîmes, France. Let us discover the history of denim and jeans in this article by the Mostafawi Group, which is a leading distributor of denim clothing in Dubai.

The Birth of Denim

You will be amazed to know that the birth of denim was an accident. In the eighteenth-century fabric weavers of Nîmes were trying to replicate a popular textile from Genoa, Italy. The weavers of Nimes tried a lot unsuccessfully until one day, the fabric weavers ended up with a very unique and sturdy fabric that was never discovered before.

This cloth was woven in a twill weave, with the weft threads flowing beneath the warp threads. The weavers used indigo to color the warp threads blue while leaving the weft threads white. This procedure gave the cloth a distinct blue color on one side and white color on the other. It was known as Serge de Nîmes (translated as’ twill of Nîmes’).

Denim and jeans have become so popular around the world that when people say they want to buy a pair of trousers, they usually mean denim or jeans. Today, if you search for jeans in Dubai, you will find many reputed brands such as Levis, Lee, Wrangler, and many more. Of all the leading brands, Lee, Wrangler, and Levis were introduced to the UAE market by the Mostafawi group. Let us look further into the history of denim and see how denim got its iconic indigo color.

The Denim’s Iconic Indigo Color

Indigo, which is synonymous with the traditional image of denim jeans, is one of the earliest dyes that has been used in various fabric and textile dyeing for ages and is responsible for the characteristic blue tint in denim fabric as well.

Indigo was initially created and shipped from India, and it is made from an organic dye with a characteristic blue color. This natural dye was taken from the leaves of certain plants, and it was essential commercially because blue dyes were formerly scarce. Originally derived from the plant Indigofera tinctoria, it became a highly sought-after product, prompting Persian, Levantine, and Greek exporters to levy enormous taxes. As a result, this traditional blue became a rare luxury throughout Europe.

Only when the Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama established a sea passage to India in 1497 did Indigofera tinctoria penetrate other colonies and their marketplaces. Importers could now escape the high tariffs and taxes levied on indigo, and as a result, the use of indigo in European apparel manufacturing increased dramatically.

Adolf von Baeyer, a German scientist, began working on the production of natural indigo in 1865. In 1883, he eventually succeeded, setting the stage for the first commercial and mass production of synthetic indigo in 1897. Synthetic indigo was not only significantly cheaper to create, but it was also more dependable because of its long and lasting color, which gave permanence and endurance.

Today, traditional denim is not limited to just the indigo color but is available in many colors and shades. Visiting one of the best denim outlets in Dubai, you will find many options in different colors of denim along with different styles as well.

In The Early 20th Century Denim Grew Popular As Work Wear

In the early twentieth century, denim was accepted as the primary workwear fabric option for western cowboys, miners, factory workers, and farmers in the United States. Denim was not only less expensive, but it was also more robust and sturdy than the popular alternative, “jeans” (which were traditionally made from cotton, linen, and wool, or a combination of all of them). After Levi’s & Strauss devised metal rivets to make their blue denim pants more durable, they began creating the distinctive denim blue trousers that became a regular sight among working men. From reputed jeans brands in Dubai to unbranded ones today, many options are available at leading apparel stores in the UAE.

Jeans and the American Connection

During the 1853 California gold rush, Levi Strauss relocated to San Francisco to establish a Western branch of his family’s dry goods company. He was a German immigrant to the United States who arrived in New York in 1851 to work alongside his brother. Levi sold a variety of goods. Denim, a tough imported cotton fabric, was one of them.

Jacob W. Davis, a tailor, was one of his customers. Davis, originally from Reno, Nevada, had purchased Levi’s denim fabric for his firm, which created rough products such as tents, horse blankets, and wagon coverings. A gold mining firm commissioned him to design sturdy, hard-wearing pants. It is here where the iconic denim jeans were first made.

The iconic denim jeans have become a wardrobe standard. Modern jeans first appeared in the 1920s, but sales were mostly limited to western working people, such as cowboys, lumberjacks, and railroad workers. It is believed that Levi’s jeans were originally introduced to the East during the 1930s dude ranch boom.

Denim during the World Wars

In the 1940s, American soldiers took their cherished denim pairs overseas with them. Although manufacturing of denim work wear (or waist overalls, as they were popularly known at the time) decreased throughout the war due to a lack of raw materials, the end of the war signaled a shift in their view. Denim jeans became less associated with business attire and more closely associated with casual wear.

Popular workwear slowly started getting experimented with and jackets, skirts, caps, and so many different things are now made out of denim fabric. You can buy denim jackets for men in Dubai at any one of the Mostafawi group stores.

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