In the present era, “Jeans” are the most preferred and stylish outfit not only among the youth, but across all generations. A thought that lasted for years in my mind was that, “How do people wear a jean without washing for months”. This thought subjected me to dig into the nitty gritty of this trendy piece of clothing.
“Jean” is said to reference the clothing worn by the sailors from Genoa, Italy, who wore indigo-dyed clothes with blue cotton canvas in the 18th century. The word “jeans” comes from a kind of material that was made in Europe. Initially, the jean cloth was made from a mixture of things. However, in 1853, a Bavarian immigrant named Levi Strauss, an astute merchant in San Francisco, responded to the increase in trade, slave labour, cotton plantations and gold mining, strived hard to make jean completely from cotton, with a cinch belt in the back. It was usually dyed with indigo, a dye taken from plants in the Americas and India, which made jean cloth a dark blue color.
During the 1960s jeans had also spread to the American middle class. Protesting college students began wearing them as a token of solidarity with the working class – those most affected by racial discrimination and the war draft.
Besides being rugged and cheap to purchase, the main reason for this outfit to be adopted by the workers, was that it did not wear out or fade easily, because of the unexplained capacity of the fabric to stay clean. No wonder till now this outfit has its fame in the market and probably it might for ages to come.
There is also a down side to jeans. Jeans are not the best climbing gear. Straining the knee up to and past the belt, sometimes necessary in scaling a peak like the Devil’s Needle, wears on after a few hours of moving vertically. In addition, jeans can be hot, so they may not be the prime choice for heavy work in the sun.
Today jeans are not only a symbol of democratization; they put different classes on a level playing field. There is no doubt in the fact that, this clothing not only covers the body but also provides support and comfort. It is always said by people who wear jeans as “Putting on jeans makes a rough morning easier”. For some they’re comfortable, durable and easy – for others, they’re sexy and cool. Jeans mean different things to different people.
Jeans have become this neutral foundational garment. It’s difficult to find a garment as widely embraced, worn and loved throughout the world as jeans. The classic symbol of the Italy is now a staple in wardrobes around the world. The eternal appeal of jeans is just that they reflect us and they reflect the lives that we’ve had in them.
P.S: When you wear a jean next time, request you all to remember those sailors who underwent a traumatic slavery and pay a silent tribute to them in all your thoughts.