The American Blue Jean, The World’s Most Popular Pair Of Pants!

If you were to be asked for one item of clothing that’s worn all around the world, but could still be considered to be an icon of American culture, what would it be? A ball cap? A T-shirt? We are going to bet that you will guess right, but give you a big hint to make it super easy for you- they are most famous for their colour!

Of course, we are talking about men’s and womens jeans, a staple of American style and arguably the most popular pair of pants the world has ever seen, and yes, they are usually blue!

So, what’s the story behind these rugged but comfortable pants? Well, back in 1871 during the gold rush, a Reno Nevada tailor named Jacob Davis needed to come up with a pair of overalls that were tough enough to withstand the rigours and hard labour of the mining profession. The miners were constantly complaining that the overalls they were wearing were always getting torn, especially around the fly and pockets. Davis considered the problem and found his inspiration in sturdy horse tack, hence the origin of the rivets that now make a pair of pants into jeans!

The rivets were strategically placed to strengthen the overalls, and Davis also started using a highly durable type of canvas called “duck cloth” for their fabric. The miners loved them, and he was hard-pressed to sew them together fast enough, the demand was so high! Realizing he was on to something big, Davis decided he should patent his invention fast, but didn’t have enough cash to make the filing. That’s where Levi Strauss comes into the story, a German immigrant running a successful dry goods store in San Francisco.

Strauss saw the genius in Davis’s idea, they split the cost of the patent, and went into business together! Strauss ran the concern that eventually would bear his name while Davis supervised the production to make sure the clothing was made just right. Business boomed as not just miners, but workers from all kinds of professions like ranchers and railroad men lined up outside the store to get their pair of the rugged garments! The original label read “Patent Riveted Duck & Denim Clothing. .. .Every Pair Guaranteed. None Genuine Unless Bearing This Label.”

The patent expired in 1890, but Levi Strauss & Co. was going strong with their incredibly popular product and had built a business that would stand the test of time. They introduced a new, more flexible fabric called denim for their riveted clothing items, and began to make pants along with overalls, and so the blue jean was born! It wasn’t long until it wasn’t just working men who wore them, people from all ages and walks of life were snapping them up, including women!

Decades after the death of Levi Strauss back in 1902 blue jeans rose to achieve their important cultural significance in the 1950s thanks to screen idols like James Dean wearing them. Now the blue jean is a symbol of American style that has grown far beyond her borders to be everybody’s favourite pair of pants around the world!