1848: Gold rush started in California and durable clothing was needed for the miners
1853: Leob Strauss (later changed to Levi Strauss) arrived in San Fransisco to start a wholesale clothing business. The miners were having trouble with pockets tearing and Jacob Davis had an idea to reinforce the pockets with rivets. Davis didn’t have the money to patent his idea at the time.
1872: Strauss worked with Davis to pay for the patent, and the production of copper-riveted “waist overalls” began.
1873: The first sales of riveted clothing began
1886: A leather label was added showing a pair of jeans being pulled in opposite directions by horses, thus showing the strength of the jeans.
1891: The rivet patent goes public and other companies begin to use the idea.
1930’s: The western movies of Hollywood showed cowboys wearing jeans increasing the popularity.
1940’s: During WWII jeans were not produced as much, but off duty GI’s introduced them to the world and people outside the US started to wear them after the war. Wranger and Lee competed for their share of the market.
1950’s: Denim became popular with many young people and was often known as a sign of rebellion. Some schools banned the wearing of denim. Teenagers called the waist overalls “jean pants”.
1960’s: Many college students wore jeans. Jeans reflected the 60’s fashions (embroidered, painted, patched). Outside the US, jeans became a symbol of “Western decadence”.
1970’s: World trade regulations relaxed and jeans were being made faster and cheaper in 3rd world countries. More people outside the USA begain wearing jeans
1980’s: Jeans went designer! Famous designer made their own styles and labels. Sales skyrocketed!
1990’s: Jeans sales went down and other fabics, finishes, cuts etc were introduced.
2000’s: Mix of decades past denim fashion blends. This is when we also see the $100 to $300 jeans.
Hats off to the man that started it all, Levi Strauss. What was your favorite Levi Strauss Style?