Denim is quite literally the most popular fabric on the planet. It's mass produced, hard wearing and easy to style.
To begin with it was a working mans material but nowadays its worn by all sorts of people, regardless of their age, body shape, gender, social class or ethnicity.
It was thanks to a tailor, Jacob Davis, who designed jeans as we know them now. He approached businessman Levi Strauss about seeking financial support & patent his idea. The idea? To add metal rivets to the pockets and button fly of denim trousers. And so, on May 20, 1873, today's jeans were born.
In 1936, Levi Strauss added his signature red flag to the back pocket of jeans, making it the first item of clothing to have an outside label.
It was also in the 1930s that Vogue featured its first model in denim on the cover, hinting that jeans could perhaps be a fashion statement, and not just reserved as practical clothing for working men.
Teens really embraced jeans in the 1950s as they were seen as the rebellious fashion item of choice. Pop culture icons like James Dean and Marlon Brando popularized jeans in movies and they were even banned in some public schools. women rarely wore denim during this time. Popular brands included Levi’s, Lee Cooper and Wrangler jeans.
Marilyn Monroe made jeans fashionable for women after wearing them in 1962. They then became a constantly reworked symbol of youth.
In the 70’s personalizing your denim was all the rage. Embroidery, bright colours, stonewash, rhinestones and patches were just some of the jean trends of the time. Popular cuts included bell bottoms and hip huggers; denim skirts also became popular in the ‘70s
During the 80’s ‘designer’ denim was created. A 15-year-old Brooke Shields starred in a Calvin Klein commercial cooing, “Nothing comes between me and my Calvin’s,” bringing denim to the forefront of every fashion designer’s mind. Designer jeans became a true status symbol. Stonewash, acid wash and ripped jeans were some of the most popular looks, along with skinny leg cuts that were tapered at the ankle.
Denim saw a decline in popularity in the ‘90s. Carpenter jeans and head-to-toe denim were among the most trendy looks, as well as overalls and short-alls, which were popular among women. For men, the rise of hip hop brought along a rise in popularity of baggy jeans and saggy denim.
In the early 2000s, pop stars like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera popularized the ultra low rise jean. Denim also became a fashion staple once again, becoming an appropriate item of clothing to wear out to clubs. Flare and boot cut denim were among the most popular cuts and came in a variety of washes. The mid-to-late 2000s saw a resurgence in the skinny jean and distressed (ripped) denim. High-waisted wide leg denim and Boyfriend jeans also came into fashion.
I'm currently studying denim at college in preparation to make a customized denim dress. Here are a few images I have used for inspiration:
I will hopefuly get time to video my sketchbook for you all which is stuffed full of samples and mood boards!
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