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Jean or Jeans are trousers often made from denim or dungaree cloth. Often the term "jeans" refers to a particular style of pants, called "blue jeans," which were invented by Jacob Davis in 1871 and patented by Davis and Levi Strauss on 20 May 1873. Starting in the 1950s, jeans, originally designed for cowboys and miners, became popular among teenagers, especially members of the greaser subculture. Historic brands include Levi's, Lee, and Wrangler. Jeans come in various fits, including skinny, tapered, slim, straight, boot cut, narrow bottom, low waist, anti-fit, and flare. Owing to their high durability as compared to other common fabrics, "distressed" (visibly aged and worn, but still intact and functional) jean trousers have become increasingly fashionable, making pre-sale "factory distressing" a common feature in commercially-sold jeans.
Jeans are now a very popular article of casual dress around the world. They come in many styles and colours. However, blue jeans are particularly identified with US culture, especially the United States Old West.
By the 17th century, jean was a crucial textile for working-class people in Northern Italy. This is seen in a series of genre paintings from around the 17th century attributed to an artist now named The Master of the Blue Jeans. The ten paintings depict impoverished scenes with lower-class figures wearing a fabric that looks like denim. The fabric but would have been Genoese jean, which was cheaper. Genre painting came to prominence in late 16th century, and the low-life subject matter in all ten paintings places them among others that portray similar scenes.
Denim is not the only sturdy cotton fabric used for everything from working clothes to fashion items. There is also dungaree. Dungaree was mentioned for the first time in the 17th century, when it was referred to a cheap, coarse thick cotton cloth, often coloured blue but sometimes white, worn by impoverished people in what was then a region of Bombay, India a dockside village called Dongri. Hindi name of this cloth was “dungri”. Dungri was exported to England and used for manufacturing of cheap, robust working clothes. English began to call “dungri” cloth a little different and it became “dungaree”.
The importance of jean is also shown by the history of textile trade. Genoese sailors used jean to cover and protect their goods on the docks from the weather. During the Republic of Genoa (17th, 18th centuries), sailors exported jeans throughout Europe.
Invention of Zipper, by Whitcomb L. Judson, helped as well.
Jean became popular in the United States when Levi Strauss & Co.’s introduced blue jean overalls in 1873.
Davis and Strauss experimented with different fabrics. An early attempt was brown cotton duck, a bottom-weight fabric. Finding denim a more suitable material for work-pants, they began using it to manufacture their riveted pants. The denim used was produced by an American manufacturer, but popular legend states it was imported from Nimes, France. A popular myth is that Strauss initially sold brown canvas pants to miners, later dyed them blue, turned to using denim, and only after Davis wrote to him, added rivets.
Worldwide market for jeans
United States citizens spent more than US$14 billion on jeans in 2004 and US$15 billion in 2005. US people bought US$13.8 billion of men's and women's jeans in the year which ended 30 April 2011, according to market-research firm NPD Group.
EVOLUTION OF THE GARMENT
Initially, jeans were simply sturdy trousers worn by factory workers. During this period, men's jeans had the zipper down the front, whereas women's jeans had the zipper down the left side. Fewer jeans were made during World War II, but 'waist overalls' were introduced to the world by US soldiers, who sometimes wore them off duty. By the 1960s, both men's and women's jeans had the zipper down the front. Historic photographs indicate that in the decades before they became a staple of fashion, jeans generally fit quite loosely, much like a pair of bib overalls without the bib. Indeed, until 1960, Levi Strauss called its flagship product "waist overalls" rather than "jeans".
After James Dean popularized them in the movie Rebel Without a Cause, wearing jeans became a symbol of youth rebellion during the 1950s. Because of this, they were sometimes banned in theatres, restaurants and schools. During the 1960s the wearing of jeans became more acceptable, and by the 1970s it had become general fashion in the United States for casual wear.
Michael Belluomo, editor of Sportswear International Magazine, Oct/Nov 1987, P. 45, wrote that in 1965, Limbo, a boutique in the New York East Village, was "the first retailer to wash a new pair of jeans to get a used, worn effect, and the idea became a hit." He continued, "[Limbo] hired East Village artists to embellish the jeans with patches, decals, and other touches, and sold them for $200." In the early 1980s the denim industry introduced the stone-washing technique developed by GWG also known as "Great Western Garment Co." Donald Freeland of Edmonton, Alberta pioneered the method, which helped to bring denim to a larger and more versatile market. Acceptance of jeans continued through the 1980s and 1990s to the point where jeans are, in the first decade of 21st century, a wardrobe staple, with the average North American owning seven pairs. Currently, jeans may be seen worn by people of all genders and ages.
Sandblasting or abrading with sandpaper
Environmental and humanitarian impact
The production of jeans with a "used look" can be more environmentally damaging than regular jeans, depending on how the waste compounds are processed. Sandblasting and treating with sandpaper has the risk of causing silicosis to the workers, and in Turkey, more than 5,000 textile workers have been stricken with this disease, and 46 people are known to have died. Some companies have announced they are banning the use of sandblasting.
CARE AND WEAR
Despite most jeans being “pre-shrunk”, they are still sensitive to slight further shrinkage and loss of colour from being washed. The Levi Strauss company recommends avoiding washing jeans as much as possible. Carl Chiara, Levi Strauss director of brand and special projects, has a credo: The less you wash your jeans, the better your jeans become. These and other suggestions to avoid washing jeans where possible have encountered criticism. Cory Warren, editor of LS&Co. Unzipped, clarifies in a response to such a criticism:
"Our advice is to wash less often, but clearly, you have to judge for yourself what's appropriate. Hot day, dirty job? Wash your jeans. Please! Cold day, office job? Maybe you can wear them twice or more before they go back to the washing machine. Personally, if I wear a pair of jeans to work on Friday—cool climate, office job—I tend to wear them on Saturday. And if Saturday is spent indoors and I'm not spilling food all over myself, I might even wear them on Sunday."
For those who prefer to refrain from washing their jeans there have been suggestions to freeze them in order to kill the germs that cause odour. However, this advice has been disputed as ineffective and replaced with the suggestion of baking them for ten minutes at 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
JEANS IN THE USSR
Jeans were introduced to the USSR in 1957, during the World Festival of Youth and Students. Moscow and Leningrad (St. Petersburg) were the first cities where jeans showed up, appearing before any foreign students or tourists came along. (These two capitals have always been visited more often by foreign delegations.) According to a 1961 Russian textile dictionary, jeans were initially referred to as a "worker's uniform".
In 1964, jeans appeared for the first time in port cities such as Odessa and Kaliningrad. In the same time frame, jeans started being mentioned in Vasily Aksenov's and Evgeny Evtushenko's works. In 1962, during Khrushchev's famous meeting with some creative intellectuals, Voznesensky gained some notoriety because he came to the meeting in jeans.
The jeans brand Rokotov and Fainberg is named after the defendants in the Rokotov–Faibishenko case, who were executed for, among other things, trafficking in jeans.
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