The History of Jeans
The History of Jeans
  • 윤정렬 기자
  • 승인 2018.04.16 09:00
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Jeans are not only the most common clothing items in the world but also in Korea and it’s loved by people of all ages. In the past, jeans have been a solid prop for the common people and have a profound history because of their variety and shape.

The topic that can’t be missed when discussing the history of jeans is the history of Levis. It is a fact that the history of jeans is the history of Levis. Levi's history began with a young man. In 1829, a young man from Bavaria, Southern Germany, Levi Strauss arrived in New York in 1847, dreaming of success in America. He helped his half-brother in clothing a business in New York, then moved to San Francisco, a mecca of an American frontier that began with the gold rush and gold mining industry boom to create new markets when he was 24 years old. At that time, the miners kneeled in the water all day to search for gold bars and because they were screening the ore, they were not well dressed, they were wearing clothes but with a lot of scratches on their hips and knees. Levi, who discovered this, thought it would be a good business if he sold sturdy pants to miners. At that time, he bought a thick cloth used in military tent manufacturing, dyed blue, then double-stitched it with thick yarn. Therefore, the work clothes called 'Overalls', which came up to the chest, was born, and he began to make and sell them. These pants became an epoch-making attraction to miners, and Levi made a lot of money. He became independent from his older brother and founded Levi Strauss in 1850, and started a full-scaled jeans business.

Levi’s business grew greatly and with great difficulty. His own business was so good that he lacked the denim cloth to make the pants. At that time, Levi imported denim from France, however, since all the denim produced in France was sold out, French cloth merchants bought denim produced in Genoa, Italy and delivered it to Levi. French merchants began to call this pants "Jean", derived from the pronunciation of the Italian Gene, the source of the fabric.

As the United States became industrialized in the 1900s, jeans were transformed into everyday clothes rather than work clothes. James Dean, a famous American actor, was killed in a car accident on September 30, 1955. Three days after the accident, on October 3, he starred in the release of the movie, Rebel Without a Cause. The clothes he wears throughout the movie are jeans, and because of the image of the main character, jeans symbolize youth, rebellion, and freedom. For this reason, many schools have forbidden wearing jeans. In Korea, since the 1970s, jeans started to enter the fashion trend of young people, and since 1980, Calvin Klein, Diesel and other brands have emerged more.

Also, the rivet decoration, a symbol of Levi's jeans, has the following origins. One day when Levi's jeans grew day by day, two jeans and a letter were delivered to Levi. This letter was written by a young man named Jacob who came from Latvia. And the letter said that “I put a rivet in my jeans pocket, and my friends are envious. If you do not get a patent, someone else will, so if you give me a patent in my name, I will trade it for $ 68". So Levis was willing to buy a patent right after Jacob's recommendation. Levi's was the exclusive producer of riveted jeans and Levi's became a big company in 1870.

Jeans are clothing that has had a considerable impact on our economy as well as on our culture. The history of jeans over the 20th and 21st centuries will continue today and in the future.


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