the history of a wardrobe staple: jeans

The jean is a wardrobe staple that never seems to go out of fashion. Throughout its history, denim jeans have played an integral part in pop culture and fashion.

In 1873, Levi Strauss, a German immigrant to the US, took out a patent on the process of riveting pants and created the original 501s, then known as “waist overalls”.

Denim was an essential fashion item for the laid-back look of the 60s and 70s, when folk musicians such as Rita Coolidge and Janis Joplin popularised the loose-hanging, patch-worked version.


Jeans were also popularised by rock n’ roll icons such as Joan Jett, who favoured darker washers trimmed with leather and metallic accessories. Country music singers such as Willie Nelson, too, favoured the blue jean.

By the 90s, both grunge music icons such as Nirvana and high fashion had adopted the denim jean as their own. Designers from Calvin Klein and DKNY to Tommy Hilfiger have built their brands on the denim jean and sold countless pairs of this iconic fashion item.