Today, you are 1853 to follow us on Facebook. It’s a great advance since our first step and we wanted to thank you warmly. But 1853, in Jean History, it’s also the starting point…Explication
Did you say « Jeans » ?
The History of Jean begins in the sixteenth century in the port town of “Gênes” in Italy (Genoa). Their fabrics are well know including a canvas of wool and linen used to make tarpaulins and sails for ships. This canvas of “Gênes” is exported in America and quickly anglicizes. She becomes phonetically « Jeans » because this is the way the Anglo-Saxons pronounced the city Gênes. It’s from there that is born the name of « Jean ». Coarse but robust canvas, the « Jeans » is first used for making clothes for slaves in plantations. At that time, the « Jeans » is a fabric.
From « Blue Jeans » to « Denim »
In the XVIIth century the pastel dye which made the wealth of the southwest of France (Albi, Lectour, Toulouse) for 3 centuries is supplanted by the Italian indigo which becomes widespread because more economic and so effective. Across the Atlantic we said « Blue Jeans ». At that time the « Blue Jeans » is a color. The draper and the french silk merchant starts to do Italian indigo which allows them to lower cost of their fabrics. Their goal is to invent fabrics more resistant and more successful than their Genoese competitors. In the XVIII century the « serge de Nîmes » (from the city of Nîmes in France) is created, an armored fabric made of wool and silk. This resistant fabric (thanks to the tenacity of the silk), comfortable (thermoregulation and hydrophobicity of the wool) and much lighter than the canvas of “Gênes”. And arrives in California. New Anglicism therefore with the « Denim » (from Nîmes means “de Nîmes” in french) which is at the same time a fabric and a color (of “Gênes” in Italia).
The Gold rush in California
In 1853, in the middle of the gold rush, the Bavarian Levi Strauss emigrates to the United States to take advantage of the flourishing market and set up as a fabric merchant. In addition he makes trousers and work overalls from tarpaulins for gold miners in California. Subsequently, he decided to replace this heavy fabric with cotton Denim, the evolution of « sergé de Nîmes ». The story tells that this lot of fabrics was numbered 501…