Origin of the term "jeans"
The origins were cotton trousers that came to the USA from the area around the Italian city of Genoa . From the French form of the city name (“Gênes”) the pronunciation “Jeans” developed in America. Levi Strauss , who was born in Franconia and emigrated to San Francisco in 1847 , made robust work clothing for gold diggers, the "Gênes" made from the fabric " Serge de Nîmes" (fabric from the city of Nîmes ), or denim jeans for short .
The trader Levi Strauss sold everyday necessities for the gold diggers in San Francisco . As a wholesaler, he sold “duck pants” made of canvas , which at some point were taken out of the range due to a lack of profitability and which are mistakenly mistaken for a predecessor of jeans. However, it was just a different product in the Levi Strauss range. The tailor Jacob Davis had the idea of reinforcing the seams of trousers with rivets . Since he didn't have the money to apply for a patent, he turned to Levi Strauss.
In 1872 the corners of the trouser pockets were reinforced with rivets for the first time . The trousers were patented on May 20, 1873. Strauss and Davis jointly owned the patent. Later, the brown canvas was replaced by the indigo- dyed blue cotton fabric denim, and the jeans were reinforced and decorated with orange-colored seams and rivets. The original linen weave was switched to the more stable twill weave early on , which is the standard for most denim fabrics.
Around 1920 the term blue jeans (due to the indigo color ) came up. In the 1930s, suspenders were removed from the belt . American soldiers brought them to Europe after World War II . In 1948, jeans were first manufactured in Europe by the L. Hermann clothing factory in Künzelsau , which was founded in 1932 . In 1953 the first jeans for women were made in Europe. They were called Girls Camping Pants and had a zipper on the side. In 1958 the L. Hermann clothing factory changed its name to Mustang .
In the 1950s, young people also discovered jeans as a symbol of protest against tradition and authority . Jeans (often called Texas trousers in Germany at the time ) were considered to be "symbols of violent immaturity and wanton challenge to conventions". Film stars like James Dean and Marlon Brando further increased their level of awareness.
In the GDR , jeans gave rise to expulsion from school and clubhouse bans. Later, through the nationally owned production in the 1980s, they became the ultimate leisure trousers with the brands Boxer , Wisent and Shanty .
Well-known jeans brands include Levi's , Lee , Wrangler , Mustang , JOKER Jeans, HIS Jeans , MAC Jeans, Diesel , Pioneer , Replay , G-Star , Freeman T. Porter, Mogul (Jeans) , Energie , Edwin (now Blue One) , 7 for all mankind , Miss Sixty , Mavi Jeans , Pepe Jeans London , Meltin Pot, ONLY, Paddocks, US Top, Nudie, B-US Jeans, True Religion , Sugarcane and Evisu. In addition, many designer brands such as Armani or Joop offer expensive designer jeans . The "Five-O-One", the Levi's 501 with rivet buttons, is considered a timeless classic .
In the 1990s, traditional jeans manufacturers like Levi's got into a crisis, as youth fashion tended to concentrate on baggy skater pants . Many jeans manufacturers set up secondary labels to take part in this trend.
Styles and fits
Soaking new goods
The denim was often not pre-washed, which meant that new jeans were initially very stiff and uncomfortable to wear. Only after being washed several times did the denim become softer, and when the fabric had expanded a bit after being worn for a long time, the jeans were comfortable to wear. Especially among young people, wearing new jeans has developed into a kind of ritual in which jeans are soaked on the body, be it in the bathtub or while bathing in the open sea. Then the jeans are dried on the body, whereby the fabric adapts to the body shape. This treatment and long wearing give the originally evenly dark blue jeans a typical look, which is characterized by light folds on the lower body and knees. The fabric on the buttocks and thighs becomes lighter with wear.
Jeans differ particularly in their fits :
In the 1970s, especially jeans were an average of flares spread, which also Bell-bottoms were called. Such jeans are cut very tight on the lower body and thighs, but they become considerably wider below the knees. Depending on the foot width, the pant leg can cover the entire shoe.
Tube and skinny jeans
The typical fit since the late 1970s were so-called skinny jeans with trouser legs cut tightly over the entire length. These types of jeans were available from Wrangler, Paddocks and US Top, among others. Two typical models are the Levis 631 and the even tighter-cut Levis 639. Some jeans models had a very small foot width and were just as tight around the calves as they were on the thighs. These include, for example, the Levis 613, the Wrangler Kansas and the Ultraslim model from the Japanese manufacturer Big John.
As an example, a comparison between some skinny jeans in size W30: the Lee Phoenix model in this size has an ankle width of 37 cm, the Levis models 611 and 534 are approximately 36 cm, the 631 Levis is 35 cm, the 613 and 639 from Levis are 33 cm each and the narrowest is the Big John Ultraslim with a foot width of only 31.5 cm. Other models of jeans had zippers at the end of the pant legs to make them easier to put on. As skinny jeans are called jeans that sit even closer by stretch fabric as skinny jeans. They have been widespread since the 2010s.
Since the 2010s, improved weaving techniques have been developed and denim fabrics have been produced with a higher percentage of stretch, which are offered as figure-shaping jeans in addition to the figure-hugging cuts of stretch jeans. Such jeans are known in the trade as shaping or shape-up jeans, consist of highly elastic, mostly firm denim and are intended to model the legs and bottom. Sometimes only the thighs and the bottom are made with a different weaving technique.
In the 1980s, increasingly jeans were spread that of a cut carrot pants are called, with a high waist and down conically tapered section: closely cut below the buttocks far or very far end of the leg, the thigh from mid-height the legs are continuously narrower. This type of jeans was also very popular among poppers and was also often offered as designer jeans at relatively high prices. In the 2010s, the so-called tapered leg cut, a very similar cut, came back into fashion.
Baggy jeans are jeans that are not at the waist, but rather low down on the hips, so that the underpants are partially visible. Baggy jeans were popular on the hip hop scene in the 2000s . They were often combined with boxer shorts worn underneath . They are often cut wide, but skinny jeans can also be worn “baggy” (low-lying).
Jogging jeans are jeans whose cut is based on jogging pants . They usually have a knitted waistband (or cuffs ) or an elastic band at the top and / or at the ankles . They appeared in the fashion market in the 1980s and 2010s.
Riding jeans are jeans that are specially designed for riding and are worn as a replacement for normal riding breeches . The specialty compared to normal jeans is that riding jeans have either no seam or a specially processed seam on the inside of the legs to prevent this seam from chafing on the rider's skin when riding. Riding jeans often have an additional layer of fabric on the inside of the leg from knee level down, or a leather trim like normal riding breeches. Denim is usually used as the material. The cut of riding jeans is either skin-tight up to the feet, like classic stretch jeans , so that the riding jeans can be worn with normal riding boots , or a little wider in the style of so-called jodhpurs .
Boyfriend jeans are jeans for women that have a wider cut and whose main characteristics are a loose fit on the hips and a wide leg that is often turned inside out. The style of the jeans should, as the name suggests, look like “your friend's jeans”. In Hollywood, for example, the boyfriend style was coined by Katie Holmes at the end of 2008 and quickly picked up by designer jeans labels. Since 2009 it can also be found in the range of other jeans brands and the own collections of fashion chains.
Hyperflex, hyperstretch, hyperscuplt
As hyper-flex , hyper stretch or hyperscuplt jeans are called, which are characterized by special elasticity. Such jeans were increasingly offered in stores from the 2010s. It is characteristic that they can be stretched in all directions, which is achieved through new weaving techniques. The term “4-way stretch” has established itself for this. These jeans adapt even better to the body, which on the one hand allows the cuts to be tighter, on the other hand they offer more freedom of movement even with wider cut jeans.
While jeans were initially only available in dark blue, it has become increasingly popular since the 1980s to chemically or mechanically bleach jeans, for example by washing them with stones. Since then, jeans have been available in various light blue tones through to almost white fabric. There are also various optical effects through washes such as stone washed , moon washed or mouth washed , some of which aim to make jeans look used when they are bought (used look). Here come sandblaster used. The technique is banned in Turkey as it can cause silicosis in workers and has resulted in 54 documented deaths there. The technique is still carried on in countries like Bangladesh, Egypt, China, Brazil and Mexico. There are efforts to switch to environmentally and health-friendly processes (e.g. Old Blue-Washed).
|Washing style||Appearance / method|
|Authentic||A special kind of used look in which the jeans are sandblasted and washed with pumice stone|
|Acid-washed||Washing with chlorinated pumice stone to achieve strong contrasts|
|Moon-washed||Jeans with a pattern reminiscent of the lunar landscape|
|Old Blue Washed||Jeans with a yellowish used look created by a special wash|
|Rinse-washed||Very dark jeans|
|Sand-washed||Soft jeans that have been washed with small pumice stones|
|Stone-washed||Classic used look|
After Levi Strauss invented jeans, the San Francisco work trousers quickly spread to North America among cowboys, farmers, railroad workers, artisans and heavy laborers. Jeans were also manufactured by The H. D. Lee Company, founded in 1889, and were very popular as practical, hard-wearing and inexpensive work trousers, later denim jackets and denim shirts were added. With the rising prosperity in the cities on the east coast of the USA, jeans were used as leisure trousers from 1920, when rich people took cowboy holidays on the "dude ranches" in the west. A first women's model (Levi's Lady L) was produced. But essentially, until the 1950s, jeans and denim jackets were available in a few unisex standard shapes (straight cut, boot cut pants, tailored jackets). During the Second World War, denim clothing as part of the army uniform for repair soldiers was very limited and difficult to obtain.
In the post-war period, since around 1955, the excess army jeans stocks of Levis, Lee and Wrangler in Western Europe spread through Army Surplus Shops and were taken up by the young people as a demarcation and protest element (thug scene). With the first youth groups, “raw denim jeans jackets” with homemade rivet fittings, patches, fringes etc. were increasingly popular, which was adopted by rocker groups and other gangs in the 1960s and 1970s. At certain gangs the original denim jackets were poured with beer or other things, or placed in the mud, which were never allowed to be washed for the entire time. In comparison to North America, Western Europe was a high-price island from the beginning, which, apart from department store jeans, has remained so to this day together with Japan.
In addition to the emerging prosperity in the industrialized countries, including increasing global trade, the social upheavals and upheavals via film, music and youth protests finally helped the original work trousers to break through as a symbol and cult object among young people, which the brands, Levis, Lee and Wrangler did helped great success. At the same time, the first imitation products appeared in Europe (Mustang in Germany, Lois in Spain, Lee Cooper in England / France, Rifle in Italy).
At the beginning of the 1970s, flared jeans reached their peak. In addition, jeans spread in Europe from work and leisure trousers to everyday objects that older people increasingly began to wear. As a result, the variety of brands and styles exploded in terms of colors and types of fabric (corduroy trousers, thinner and thicker fabrics up to 32 oz, striped jeans). In addition to the occident, jeans spread around the world. In Japan the first manufacturers began to produce special raw denim jeans in good quality.
Another special feature of the 1980s are special women's jeans with a very high waistband and a narrow cut on the lower body. The fit of these women's jeans is referred to in the literature as "emphasizing the bottom and fitting tightly and constricting at the waist". Typical for this cut is the length of the crotch seam, measured from the top edge of the jeans over the zipper , through the crotch to the top edge of the jeans at the back. Classic skinny jeans with a normal rise like the Levis 639 in size W30 L34 have an inseam of about 63 cm. The Levis model 737, on the other hand, measures 71.5 cm. If the dress size is otherwise the same, the belt on the Levis 737 is 4 cm higher. With the industrial modernization in the textile industry towards highly developed mass production, the old looms were disposed of. Part of it was taken over by Japanese companies that manufacture original raw denim models as authentically as possible. Both old standard models were copied (vintage repros) and new own models were designed with selvedge seams, black bar tags, hidden rivets, crotch rivets and woven in ring ring or ring spun processes using high-quality fabrics. These high-priced products slowly spread across Europe from the 1990s.
In the 1990s, tight skinny jeans gradually disappeared from the public and from the market. Instead, the fashion trend went to wide-cut models with names like baggy jeans or skater jeans . The latter are said to have their origins in young people who wanted to wear the necessary protective padding under their clothes when riding skateboards or inline skates. Another legend of the origin of the baggy jeans relates to American street gangs. During the nightly detention by the police, the belts were removed from the "suspect elements" as is customary in prisons (risk of suicide). From the trousers that were hanging down, other young people would have recognized that someone was actually in custody, so could be considered a "tough boy". By not pulling the belt back in, this impression should be maintained the next day (recognition by peers, hint of respectful danger). In addition to the baggy jeans, the bell-bottoms experienced their renaissance. As in the 1970s trousers were straight or tight legs unceremoniously hem separated with colorful fabric inserts for flared trousers sewn. In addition, in the 1990s, the trend developed to separate your jeans about five centimeters at the inner seam on the lower leg. This type of trousers and bell-bottoms were preferred to be worn with Buffalo boots .
A new edition of the jeans fashion of the 1970s and 1980s was the further development. Skinny jeans are being offered again and are in demand as used items. Above all, hip jeans ( hip pants ) came onto the market, the legs of which are cut in the style of the 1970s, are close to the thighs and have a large foot width. The belt is very low. The characteristic appearance of tight, dark blue jeans when they are worn is artificially imitated in many jeans models by bleaching or targeted mechanical wear, usually by sandblasting, with wrinkles being indicated by white lines.
In addition to countless shapes, styles, colors, washes and types of fabric, artificially treated pants are still produced in all kinds of ways. Industrially tattered or soiled trousers with pseudo-patches are available. In North America, Japan and Central / Northern Europe, dark unwashed raw denim fabrics or additionally waxed jeans are popular with raw denim heads in the high price segment. A large part of it is made in Japan, for example by Strike Gold, Iron Heart, Samurai, Studio d'Artisan, Flathead, Edwin, Evisu, Denime, Skulls, Eight-G. Other raw denim brands in Europe are: Nudie, Sweden, A. P. C. (= Atelier de Production et Creation), Atelier La Durance (until 2011) both France; Pike Brothers, Germany, Eat Dust, Belgium. In Australia: Imperials; New Zealand: Ande Whall; Canada: Naked & Famous; USA: Hellers Cafe etc. With the jeans freaks it is often about wearing the raw raw denim pants and jackets unwashed for as long as possible (at least six months) or forever until the end, in order to be able to keep the original color and to personalize one's own strong Let traces of fading develop over the years on jeans or jeans (whiskers, honeycombs).
In addition to the flared jeans, the skinny jeans are coming back. Many designer brands offer jeans in a tight tube cut. Some models combine skin-tight legs with the very low-cut cut of hip trousers and have zippers at the foot ends to make them easier to put on. In contrast to the skinny jeans of the 1980s, the material is predominantly stretch.
In contrast to earlier decades, when only a few jeans models were on the market for a long time, the hip jeans offered for girls and women have a large number of quickly changing models. Variations are the waist height, additional seams, twisted leg seams and other applications on the legs; further modifications concern pockets and belt loops, which can also be completely absent. Some models do not have the zipper on the front, but on the side or back.
In addition to the above-mentioned variants of the traditional denim, trousers were and are made from other materials in the cut of jeans. Lederhosen are offered under the name Lederjeans. The cut corresponds either to a certain jeans model, often the Levis 501, or to a typical fit, for example that of tight skinny jeans. Synthetic leather is often used as a material for jeans-like trousers. It is typically made of thin fabric with an outer layer of plastic applied to it. The surface has a leather-like appearance. The plastic is often polyurethane (PU). Imitation leather jeans are often offered as a no-name product. Brands also offer many jeans models in an artificial leather version. If the plastic used has a smooth, shiny surface, the trousers are known as vinyl jeans. The plastic is often PVC . Faux leather jeans and patent leather jeans are available in both stretch and inelastic. Vinyl jeans in particular are available in versions without trouser pockets and without belt loops, which are more commonly referred to as vinyl leggings. Also Satin is used for trousers in jeans cut. In addition to jeans made of normal satin, there are stretch satin jeans made of highly elastic material in a skin-tight cut.
Another innovation from the 1980s are stretch jeans. Here a small part of the cotton threads of the denim has been replaced by elastic fibers. Stretch jeans from this period are usually very tight. Similar to pantyhose, they are skin-tight down to the feet. Typical stretch jeans of this time are the Mustang Disco and Mustang Skinline models. The manufacturer Levis brought the model 806 with the designation Body Profile on the market. There were also tight-fitting stretch jeans from other manufacturers such as Lee. Later, loose jeans with a normal cut were made from stretch material, with the emphasis on comfort. Jeggings are related to tight stretch jeans .
Originally, jeans were closed with buttons ( button fly ), which is still reflected in many long-established models from long-established manufacturers. For reasons of comfort, however, there are mainly jeans models with a zip ( zip-fly ) and a metal button, more rarely with a zip and several buttons on the high waistband. It is relatively rare to find a pure lacing, which is often attached as a fashionable accessory . In some jeans models, the zipper is not located in the front, but is attached to the side or back. Zippers and button strips are seldom attached so that they are clearly visible.
The size values, the US dominated notation, in which the waist and measured at the inseam inseam ( inseam length ) in inches are given. The waist size in inches is given as a number after the capital letter W (English waist ), the length in inches after the capital letter L (English length ). Often this information can also be found without the letters, for example as 34/32 or 34x32 for a width of 34 in and a length of 32 in. The width is usually graduated in one-inch steps, the length usually in two-inch - Steps on even numbers. The indication of German dress sizes is not very common for jeans.
Depending on the epoch, the very tight and body-hugging cut of jeans can have an explicitly sexual and erotic character, both for women and men. Doris Schmidt's band states under the heading “Jeans as a symbol of masculinity”: “[…] the cowboys also seem to have intentionally worn their jeans so tightly and thus body-huggingly, in order to impress women by showing off their well-trained legs. “This body-hugging fit of tight jeans was shown on the cover of the Rolling Stones' 1971 LP Sticky Fingers , for example .
In relation to women wearing jeans, the literature documents “massive body emphasis” by jeans with “legs that are very tightly cut below the knee” and “tight fit on the bottom”. The jeans that “emphasize the buttocks and sit tight and constricting at the waist” would not only trace the female body shape, but also produce “constructed female shapes” and thus fulfill a function similar to the corset.
The characteristics of these “body-hugging and erotic jeans” are decisive for some of the wearers. In a survey from 1980 - when tight jeans were still preferred - 3.3 percent of those questioned named the tight fit as the reason for wearing jeans.
The very tight fit was advertised in the 1980s, for example. This is documented in a Levis commercial that it has been practiced since the 1960s to "step into the bathtub with jeans [to trace the shape of the body". This group of people seems to prefer that jeans no longer fulfill their normal function as a piece of clothing because the “narrow legs […] are so tight that they restrict freedom of movement.” Elsewhere it says: “Jeans that are too tight prevent you sufficient hip flexion so that the jeans wearer cannot sit normally on a chair. He sits on the front third of the chair and leans his shoulders on the armrest. ”Such jeans are sometimes referred to as standing jeans . With the advent of the baggy pants in the 1990s, the taste of the times, especially among men, has largely developed into a wider fit.
- Klaus N. Hang, Guilherme Aquino, Matthew Harris: The Denim Bible - Jeans Encyclopedia III. Sportswear International, Deutscher Fachverlag, Frankfurt am Main 2011, ISBN 978-3-86641-239-2 . Extensive information about jeans manufacturers and brands, the respective company founders and further background information.
- Rebecca Menzel: Jeans in the GDR - the deeper meaning of leisure trousers. Links, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-86153-335-9 .
- Doris Schmidt (Hrsg.): Jeans - career of a garment. Volume 2. Schneider, Baltmannsweiler 2004, (series of studies in fashion and textile science), ISBN 3-89676-881-6 . A scientific presentation of the development of jeans with further references, especially pp. 1–16.
- Anna Schober : Blue Jeans. About life in fabrics and images. Campus, Frankfurt am Main / New York, NY 2001, ISBN 3-593-36753-X ( Dissertation University Vienna 1999).
- Lisa Dartmann, Susann Hartung, Eva-Susanne Krah: Jeans forever young. Deutscher Fachverlag, Frankfurt am Main 1993, ISBN 3-87150-429-7 . A comprehensive treatise on the economic aspects of jeans from logistics to the jeans store and how it has changed since the 1950s.
- Iain Finlayson: Denim. Deuticke, Vienna 1991, ISBN 3-216-07831-0 .
- Emeric Hannouille, Pierre Dupuy: Jeans. The Levi story. Parkland, Stuttgart 1990, ISBN 3-88059-367-1 . The history of the Levi company is shown, as well as numerous images and reproduced advertising material.
- Martin Scharfe (Ed.): Jeans - Contributions to fashion and youth culture. Tübingen Association for Folklore, Tübingen 1985, ISBN 3-925340-32-7 .
- Daniel Friedmann: The Jeans Book. Transit, Berlin 1981, ISBN 3-88747-046-X .
- Bettina Wehdemeier-Pusch, Andreas Pusch: The “Jeans” phenomenon. A consideration from historical, economic, fashionable, creative and social aspects. Published by Bielefeld University , Bielefeld 1981, ISBN 3-926988-00-2 .
- NDR: When jeans were still called studded pants. In: www.ndr.de. Archived from the original on October 7, 2015 ; accessed on March 20, 2016 .
- A SHORT HISTORY OF DENIM ( Memento of the original from February 28, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , 2014, Lynn Downey, Levi Strauss & Co. Historian
- Patent US139121A : Improvement in fastening pocket openings. Applied August 9, 1872 , published May 20, 1873 , Applicant: Jacob W. Davis; Levis Strauss & Co, inventor: Jacob W. Davis.
- Ingrid Loschek : Reclam's fashion and costume dictionary . 6th edition. Philipp Reclam jun. Stuttgart, 2011, ISBN 978-3-15-010818-5 , p. 488.
- Iain Finlayson: Denim . the jeans cult and its history. Deuticke, Vienna 1991, ISBN 3-216-07831-0 .
- Rebecca Menzel: Jeans in the GDR . of the deeper meaning of leisure trousers. Links, Berlin 2004, ISBN 978-3-86153-335-1 .
- Matthias Schümann: Documentary about GDR jeans: Real "boxers" and copied "Levi's". In: Ostsee-Zeitung . May 21, 2014, accessed February 10, 2019 .
- Do these jeans make you slim? In: brigitte.de . February 25, 2015, accessed February 10, 2019 .
- Shaping Jeans, Flex Jeans and Co. In: jolie.de . October 29, 2014, accessed February 10, 2019 .
- Bianka Morgen: What is a tapered jeans, please? In: Stylight . Retrieved June 17, 2019 .
- LEVI'S® SCULPT on levi.com
- Peter Hell reports from Istanbul: Turkish textile factories: Deadly sand in the jeans machine. In: Spiegel Online . March 22, 2009, accessed February 10, 2019 .
- NZZ , March 25, 2012, p. 22
- Frauke Döll: Killer Jeans: Jean bleaching is also environmentally friendly. In: welt.de . May 22, 2011, accessed October 7, 2018 .
- Meyers Enzyklopädisches Lexikon, Vol. 4, p. 361. - For the different language usage in East and West Germany see: Jürgen Eichhoff: For some geographical differences in word usage in the German language , In Sprache und Brtauchtum , which emerged in the 20th century . Festschrift Martin , 1980, pp. 154 ff., Here especially pp. 166–168
- Katrin Mann: Jeans cuts - jeans shapes - jeans bodies . In: Doris Schmidt (Hrsg.): Jeans - career of a garment . Baltmannsweiler 2004, pp. 113-126.
- Saxony Dudbridge: 1990s - 2000s - Catwalk Yourself. In: catwalkyourself.com. February 13, 2005, accessed February 10, 2019 .
- Sabrina Kästner: Distribution history of jeans from 1902 . In: Doris Schmidt (Hrsg.): Jeans - career of a garment . Baltmannsweiler 2004, pp. 17-37.
- Elke Dettmer: Levi Strauss, San Francisco: Blue Jeans as an American Symbol . In: Martin Scharfe (Ed.): Jeans - Contributions to fashion and youth culture , Tübingen 1985, pp. 47–98.
- Sabrina Kästner: History of the origin of jeans . In: Doris Schmidt (Hrsg.): Jeans - career of a garment . Baltmannsweiler 2004, pp. 1-16.
- Daniel Friedmann: Das Jeans-Buch , Berlin 1981
- Bettina Wehdemeier-Pusch, Andreas Pusch: The phenomenon of jeans . Bielefeld 1981, p. 120.
- Hermann Bausinger: duration in alternation , in: Martin Scharfe (ed.): Jeans - contributions to fashion and youth culture , Tübingen 1985, p. 14
- Bettina Wehdemeier-Pusch, Andreas Pusch: The Jeans Phenomenon , Bielefeld 1981, p. 344