The 145th Birthday Of Blue Jeans

The 145th Birthday of Blue Jeans – Iconic Moments in Denim History

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. Gathering some information online and from fashion brand and retailers of denim dresses, QUIZ, we celebrate the creation of blue jeans by taking a look at the most iconic moments in blue jean history!

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.

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.

Starting Kate Moss’s career

In 1992, Kate Moss was aged 17 and relatively unknown – that was until she became the star of one of the most iconic adverts of the decade. Moss was photographed topless alongside aspiring rapper at the time, Mark Wahlberg, in her Calvin Klein jeans and media coverage of the commercial exploded.

Britney and Justin’s AMA’s 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 VMA’s in 2014.

Becoming a wardrobe staple

Once denim went mainstream, it became a fashion staple for many. 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! I know that’s not quite the same amount that most of us here have, but that seems like quite a lot for those who aren’t addicted to denim. You might be surprised to know though that the top three leading players in the blue jean industry are Levi Strauss & Co, Wrangler and Diesel. I know I was shocked. I think since skinny jeans became a classic, it’s definitely helped!

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. 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.

When jeans became skinny cargo pants

Does anyone else remember when the love of denim swapped to cargo pants, courtesy of J Brand? They made the Houlihan skinny pant which was a cross between denim and twill, then every other brand jumped on board! It was a trend that stuck around for a year and the cargo style even became a staple, which is still in many brands collections to date. I still have mine and a pair of Rich & Skinny cargo jeans as well.

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 50.10 metres tall, 36 metres 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!

Disappearing denim

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. A few jeans have rips beneath the bottom and others have the entire thigh cut out and attached by a thin piece of material (remember these denim chaps?). But 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!

– So, what are some of the denim moments that you will forever remember over the years? I’d love to know what your iconic memories are! I’m quite concerned (as I’ve said before) that the gimmick phase is ruining denim at the moment, so I can’t wait for it to get back on track!

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1 Comment

  1. May 31, 2018 / 5:40 pm

    Blue denim is 145 years old! I didn’t know that. Thanks for posting this detailed and informative article.

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