‘Wear them ever, wash them never,’ is the adage that goes with Jeans.
Now, if you are a mom, I can imagine you have already wrinkled your nose, but hold on! The post is not to tell you why not to wash your Jeans, but to tell you the story of how Jeans, quintessentially a young thing, came into existence with Levi’s, even before the first automobile was developed or Coca Cola was made.
Levi Strauss, a 24-year old German immigrant traveled to San Francisco, in 1853, and opened a wholesale business to sell clothing, blankets etc. This was during the period of Gold Rush in California, following the the accidental discovery of gold in a mill in California. The surge in number of people migrating to California led to the increase in demand for everyday goods and clothes. Miners needed pants that would last longer.
In 1872, Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis, a Nevada-based tailor filed a patent for the process of riveting pants to make them strong enough to last longer. The patent was granted in 1873, and with that took birth the first pair of blue jean (“waist overall”) with copper rivets placed at points of strain to make them sturdy. Within a very short time, the jean, then known as “XX”, was a real success. The term “jean” was coined much later in the 1950s.
The two-horse brand leather patch was used to demonstrate the strength of the pants.
In 1890, the year in which the patent expired, the XX waist overall was given the lot number “501®”. In the same year, Levi and his nephews officially incorporated Levi Strauss & Co.
The Khaki pant was launched as a fine office wear in contrast to rugged work wear in factories represented by the riveted denim jeans. In 1918, the company produced their first garment for women, a one piece tunic over trouser, and went on introduce the first lady’s jeans in 1934.
Levi’s soon became the clothing of choice with denim becoming hugely popular among rebellious youths in the nineteen fifties. In the nineteen eighties, Levi’s started making clothes for Olympic athletes.
The brand has launched a host of interesting collections such as Dockers brand to perfect the khakis, and in the recent years the Water<less™ collection that are made using significantly less water, and the Waste<less™ collection using recycled PET plastic bottles in jeans.
Youth, new ideas, rebellion and individuality have found expression with denim. Denim is almost an essential to the wardrobe of the young. The ease of use, hassle free maintenance, and no washing particularly appeals a lot to the youngsters all over the world. With its Classic Fit, Regular Fit, Slim Fit, Relaxed Fit, Loose Fit or Curvy Fit, Levi’s has wooed men and women since ages.
The double arches stitched on the back pocket of the jeans are the oldest known apparel trademark in the US, which now appear on the Levi’s logo. The rivets on the jeans have become a standard around the world.
A brand as popular as Levi’s is bound to spawn fakes. The leather tab logo two horse pulling one jeans, the Levi’s sign on the rivets and buttons are the mark of authentic Levi’s jeans. The red tab stitched to the left rear pocket of the Levi’s jeans was created as a means of identifying Levi’s jeans at a distance.
Lasting for more than a century and a half, Levi’s has withstood the test of time, and till date stands out as a tough and authentic brand.
By the way, if you are still wondering what is the reason behind the advice to avoid washing the jeans for as long as possible, here it is. Washing the jeans is said to break down the fibres of the denim, and wash away the deep indigoes, and the stiff feel of the fabric which makes denim appealing in the first place.
Image credit: Levi Strauss & Co website (levistrauss.com)
This post is written on request of Vishal Bheeroo.
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