A Brief History of Jeans

per-pettersson, jeans, denim, flickr, creative commons, fashionphoto by per-pettersson used under CC BY 2.o

Worn around the world and across classes, jeans are the great equalizer.  From presidents and movie stars to cowboys and students, jeans are a wardrobe staple.  In 1873, Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss patent riveted-for-strength work wear made out of true blue denim.  Other historical brands include Lee (1889) and Wrangler (1940’s).  Originally worn by miners and cowboys, jeans gain in popularity with those enamored with the Western lifestyle.

James Dean and Marlon Brando sport jeans in the 1950’s setting off a trend that continues to reverberate through the decades.  Jeans become the uniform of the rebel and the working class.  In 1980, a teenage Brooke Shields poses for a controversial Calvin Klein Jeans ad, cementing her star power and launching the designer’s.  A few years later, Bruce Springsteen wears jeans on the cover of his iconic album Born in the U.S.A.

The 1990’s see a dip in jean popularity as people turn to khaki pants and athletic wear; however, the new millennium brings the rise of designer jeans.  Today, jeans are available in so many different styles, colors, and price-points, it’s easy to forget that jeans were once the domain of cowboys and miners.

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