American Made Denim Jeans
American Made Denim Jeans are a tradition for our country, part of the fabric of the United States, and a pillar woven through American history. Denim jeans have their roots in the American Plains. Born out of function, they were invented by Levi Strauss in San Francisco after almost 20 years living in the Wild West. At 44, Strauss created something revolutionary, a piece of clothing that has remained a part of American culture since the post Civil War Reconstruction. A simple detail, rivets to reinforce stress points in the pants, started a trend in the United states and around the world that has come to embody everything from workmanship to high fashion.
Jeans don’t symbolize change. In a lot of ways ways they’re a 150 year old constant that helping carry us through many of the pivotal periods in our growth as a nation since 1873.
Their transformation through generations is especially inspiring when we consider their humble beginnings on the Western frontier, their participation through the Women’s rights movement, the counterculture in the 60’s, skaters of the 70’s, high fashion in the 80’s, a rebellious youth in the 90’s and so on.
In many ways, that’s the embodiment of the American dream, and has relevance even to our societal concerns today. Images from every era tell a different story, yet jeans have fundamentally remained the same. Think of the American farmer juxtaposed against Nirvana and the imagery begins to come to life. And despite being a staple through generations, they remain inherently timeless, staying true to their simplicity and their purpose, regardless of who is wearing them.
Stephanie Hegarty, in her article “How Jeans Conquered The World”, states “This versatility, the ability to become all things to all people, is the secret to jeans’ survival as a clothing staple.” Which is true and much of the reason why dungarees have remained somewhat undefined by social norms. Inevitably it is not about change or symbolism, but adaptability and they seem to transcend the politics of everyday life.
They don’t represent a movement or a cause; instead they exist, endure, and evolve. They don’t say anything about the wearer on their own, but they speak to peoples’ character showing them through rips and patina in the indigo dyed cotton. They don’t claim anything of their own, and develop their own personality, relaxing and improving, over time.
Your jeans tend to become a an extension of yourself, a part of your identity, and a source of comfort. In many ways, they represent the best and the worst parts of us, quietly assuming a place in our closets. They allow us the freedom to express ourselves and to find our groove in life. So that the question is not why they have become an American staple, but what will your favorite pair look like tomorrow? Who will you be? And looking back, what will your jeans say about you?