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18th October 2016

Denim – a clothing necessity?

Denim jeans are the ultimate wardrobe staple. Bailey Petts tracks their journey to success over the years

For men and women, denim wear is a prominent fashion trend.  Whether it is a pair of jeans, a jacket, or a pair of shorts, denim is undoubtedly in many people’s wardrobe. The fabric first came into play in the 1800s in America; the cheap and sturdy nature of the material made it popular for fashioning the “work pant” for the lower working class.

This “hard-working” material was later improved by Jacob Davis in 1873 who added copper rivets to the jeans in areas where they were likely to split, thus enhancing their practicality even more.

It was only halfway through the 1900s when denim became a cultural icon of American history; the Wild West films gave denim jeans a certain sex appeal, and jeans became a fashion epidemic. With Levi Strauss dominating the market and even creating styles for women, denim was a very sought after look.

It did not take long for other companies to follow suit; Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger were soon putting their stamp on this cash cow product, and to add to their existing cultural appeal, denim jeans were being worn on the big screen by the likes of Brad Pitt in Thelma and Louise, Marlon Brando and John Wayne.

Calvin Klein held a campaign with Brooke Shields seductively stating that nothing comes between her and her Calvins (the jeans) and Britney Spears with her then boyfriend, Justin Timberlake, were photographed covering their entire bodies with denim.

The unisex cut and practicality of jeans are what propelled them into the wardrobes of many, and the transcendent versatility of denim made it such a fashion industry obsession. Denim’s prevailing quality and adaptability means that it will continue to be a clothing necessity for many more years.

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