My curious daughter (10) asked me a great question a couple of weeks ago. She asks about 10,000 a day and I love that about her, but one stuck with me as I couldn’t give her a satisfying answer there and then.
“Where does denim come from and who invented it? Mum?”
And as a huge denim lover / addict myself, I must admit I felt a little bit ashamed and surprised I didn’t know or hadn’t looked into it properly before. Thank Lord for the World Wide Web and kids with their curiosity, right? Before I researched this topic in more detail I always thought that denim was invented for workers to give their technical workwear more wear and protection and had always been convinced that the first brand to produce denim in mass were Levi’s. That’s what I told my little girl anyway and I vaguely knew that fashion definitely came afterwards, but lets find out. Read on…
There’s tons of information online and Wikipedia of course about the origin of denim and the history of it, but in a few words – I wasn’t too wrong. Phew. The name “denim” derives from French serge de Nîmes, meaning “serge from Nîmes” (Southern France). The first ever pair of denim trousers were made by a tailor called Jacob Davis in Nevada in 1873 when his female customer asked for a more durable pair of trousers for her husband to chop wood in. More and more demand for heavy duty jeans forced Jacob to look for cooperation with Levi Strauss who had already been supplying him with bolts and denim fabric. And lets just say the rest is history.
My love for denim had actually started with a pair of Vintage Levi’s when I was around 6 if I remember it right. A classic high-waisted light denim “mom jeans” style that were so popular in the 80s. From then on, denim was all about the right fit, colour and quality for me – no matter the brand. Today though, my shopping for jeans is pretty much focused on the same key features, but with the addition of a few new elements. Fringing, fraying, patchwork, rips, all sorts of cropped and long flared bottoms, unstitched-look hems, oversized boyfriend fits and of course the very popular skinny jeans are among many of the statement details we all look for in our denim clothing.
I’ve decided to separate my current denim trends in to 3 different segments: Classic, Boyfriend and Fringed. My picks are from 3×1 who have the largest collection of selvedge denim in the world and make all their jeans in the heart of Soho, New York. Selvedge denim by the way is denim woven using old-fashioned denim-weaving techniques; most authentically woven on old looms and I think it’s pretty cool that I now look into these things when thinking about buying my new jeans. I won’t lie, it’s these Stella Crop Fringe beauties that caught my eye and although the fit looks pretty classic and timeless, the 4″ fray gives them this modern update – right up my street.
This classic white selvedge chambray fabric shirt looks absolutely gorgeous. I love a white shirt, but always feel as though white shirts need a bit more weight and texture. This ticks all the boxes and it’s unisex. Ideal.
Next time I’m in New York though – I’m booking an appointment with the 3×1 denim tailor guys for my bespoke pair of jeans. Perhaps it’s a good time to dig deep into that crazy brain of mine that tends to “design” clothes in my sleep and demand them the following day. Hate to disappoint it and happy there’s a solution for folk like me. Please tell me I’m not alone? Do you design things in your sleep too?
So, I hope you enjoyed my little post about denim. I love denim even more now!
SHOP MY DENIM PICKS:
Huge thanks to 3×1 for supporting this post.