Jeans are the garment that has characterized a century , and perhaps will also characterize the next millennium. And to say that everything comes from… a work suit! That’s right, your legendary fashionable trousers were nothing more than the workers’ overalls until the beginning of the twentieth century

And there is also a drop of Italy in this kind of clothing, which is not limited to the youth world.

Today, in fact, jeans are also fashion, entertainment and on certain occasions a classy garment, believe it or not.

And it is much more than a symbol, it is now the history of modern humanity . A true myth!

But where does the story of jeans come from? And what are the most famous brands in circulation today?

History of jeans: from its origins to the present day

Let’s see in the following lines how jeans are born and what are the origins, and their diffusion worldwide.

Where did jeans come from?

In the sixteenth century, the fashion of wearing a very resistant canvas for work, which the sailors of the Republic of Genoa had first conceived and experimented with , spread in Europe .

From the word “Genova” (in English Genoa, pronounced “ginoa”, in the plural “ginoas” ) comes the name jeans that we all know today. The most mythical trousers in the world therefore come from Italy. Yet it remains confined to the working and blue-collar sector for almost four centuries!

The term jeans instead has been used in English since 1567, due to the continuous exports of this material to English soil.

Levi Strauss’s invention in the USA

The origins of blue jeans (which originally derives from the term Blu Genova) as a fashionable garment is due to the intuition of Levi Strauss , who in 1853 founded the company Levi Strauss & Co , for the marketing of jeans as a garment. trendy, even if initially in reality and intended for the gold diggers of the California of the 1800s.

Later, however, Levi Strauss realizes that the materials are not very resistant and begins to use denim, a much more resistant material. But since some parts of the jeans, such as the pockets, were subject to wear, it helps the tailor Jacob Davis to reinforce the jeans, allowing the insertion of the copper rivets, which are patented in 1873 by the US Patent and Trademark Office. with protocol No. 139.121, “for improvement in fastening pocket openings” , the cost of which is borne by Levi Strauss himself, given that Davis did not have enough money to patent it.

These new models, more resistant and called waist overalls , are used by railway workers, miners and the famous cowboys (and from here the myth of jeans takes shape in the collective imagination).

Starting in 1890, when the patent expired, other manufacturers can also create their own blue jeans models: the main producers become Harry David Lee and CC Hudson , now known respectively with the Lee and Wrangler brands. Also in 1890, the pocket for the watch and the coins, still present today in modern blue jeans models, was added.

The early 1900s to the present day

But if initially the jeans are used by the humblest workers, soon with the addition of some improvements, such as the second back pocket and the zip instead of the buttons, the jeans become a fashionable garment, not only for men but also for woman, so much so that she appeared on the pages of Vogue in 1937.

During World War II , a beautiful model wearing these jeans becomes the symbol of American women who work waiting for their men to return from the war. A symbol therefore of rebirth and national resistance, which transforms the overalls into a fashionable garment .

In the 1950s, everyone wanted to wear “blue jeans”. Worn by movie stars like Marlon Brando and James Dean, or by the most famous and followed singers, this garment becomes a must for an entire generation.

However, these trousers remain blue, like the color of the original canvas, until the seventies when they begin to be personalized and variegated even in color. 

Blue jeans became an icon of the sixty-eight riots and the hippie movement, with the legendary flared jeans , only to be used instead by yuppies as a luxury item starting from the 80s.

In the 90s they are rediscovered and personalized, becoming fashionable again, and they drag on to the present day as the main street-casual garment, worn by young and old.

Curiosity: jeans in the communist regime

Jeans also became a movement of rebellion in the then USSR, where young people used jeans as a form of protest against the Soviet regime. The first jeans to appear in the USSR are dated 1957, during the Moscow Youth Festival, and the Soviet people wear jeans as a symbol of freedom and against the regime, which seeks to ban them, so much so as to arrest and condemn all those who sell. illegally (jeans smugglers) this garment.

The famous brands of jeans in the world, which have consecrated them

The first to understand the commercial value of these ” work trousers ” as mentioned is Levi Strauss, in 1853 .

The German entrepreneur, naturalized American, begins to produce these trousers (but also jackets and aprons) in series, using an additional fabric that increased the resistance of the canvas, precisely denim.

Levi’s and Denim are in fact the first historical brands to have spread jeans around the world.

Following Strauss’s example, other American entrepreneurs started the commercial production of the garment: the Lee and Wrangler brands were born in 1890 .

Fun fact: it is not world famous, but in the United States there is a brand of jeans with a Russian name: Rokotov & Fainberg . It was inaugurated in 1962 in memory of two Russian smugglers, Rokotov and Fainberg, sentenced to death for illegally importing some prohibited Western goods into the country, including jeans – which thanks to them became fashionable even in the then Soviet Union. !

Another historical brand is Diesel Jeans . Founded in 1978 in Vicenza by an Italian entrepreneur, Renzo Rosso, it was the first to pave the way for the production of made in Italy jeans.

Today we also remember other famous jeans brands such as Liu Jo, Gas, Par.Co Denim . Italian pride and also a brand that will surely make the future history of jeans: the one that produces these garments with eco-friendly fabrics and modalities, not for nothing the name is EcoGeco .