As many of my gorgeous followers know, I started Macaroon Kids creating the Pokey Puppy from recycled denim jeans.
I love the durability of denim, I love the colors, I love all the different things you can do with it, but I didn’t really know much about denims’ history…so I thought I would enlighten us all…
The Denim Facts
- ‘Denim’ is an Americanisation of the French word ‘serge de Nimes’ (Serge being a fabric created in Nimes) and word Jeans is derived from the French word ‘Genes’.
- In Genoa, Italian sailors used to wear cotton trousers and the French called the people of Genoa ‘Genes’ and this is how the word ‘jeans’ came into existence.
- Denim was first worn by workers in the 18th century and was a wardrobe staple during the gold rush because of its durability.
- May 20th is celebrated as the birthday of blue jeans as that was the day when it was patented by Levi Strauss. The original inventor of denim in America was Levi Strauss and these jeans were used by workers because of its rugged nature and durability. Metal rivets were used to hold these jeans together so that the pockets were in place and they could be used for long. Today Levis is one of the most renowned brands across the world. Levi Strauss originally wanted to sell his denim material to miners to make tents and wagon covers.
- In 1936, a red flag was sewed next to the back pocket by Levi Strauss and that was when the first label was ever attached to a garment.
- American soldiers in World War II wore jeans when they were off duty and in doing this introduced them to the world.
- Iconic movies such as Rebel without a Cause and The Wild One first made jeans popular with teenagers, a demographic that was only starting to emerge as a distinct group in the 1950.
- In the early 1960’s, denim was banned by many schools in the U.S as it had become an icon of teen rebellion.
- Indigo dye was first used for jeans because of its durability and ability to hide dirt when not washed.
- Every American owns, on average, 7 pairs of wearable jeans. Americans buy about 450 million pairs of jeans each year.
- One bale of cotton can be used to produce 225 pairs of denim jeans.
- During the earlier days, denim were associated with any profession that required hard work like mining, farming, working at railroads and even teaching.
- Statistics reveal that about 2.5 billion yards of denim is produced every year all around the world.
- ‘Waist overalls’ or ‘overalls’ were the terms used for denims before 1960 until it was changed to ‘jeans’ which is widely used now.
What an interesting history our humble jeans have, but what about when we are finished with our old friends? On average, 23.8 billion pounds of clothing ends up in landfills, each year. The toll on the environment to produce a pair of jeans (including water waste, chemical waste and slave labour) is too high for them to be discarded so easily.
Our jeans leader Levi Strauss has been doing some work to combat the environmental impact denim production has. They have reused old jeans as building insulation in their San Francisco headquarters and they have a fantastic new Spring 2013 Waste<Less campaign. One pair of Levi’s will contain 8 PET bottles, that is, a minimum of 20% post-consumer recycled content in each garment.
This little post has made me love my denim even more and encouraged me to keep reusing it in new ways to make more loveable friends for our children.
So if you have some jeans you want to rid yourself of, visit me at my markets and off load them 🙂
for further interesting reading on recycled denim jeans http://www.textiletoolbox.com/posts/design-recycling-upcycling/