Denim, for me, is up there with puppy dogs and champagne. It’s that rare intersection of feel good fashion and comfort that ages well. At one point I owned around 100 pairs of jeans while these days, after a shift to a simpler life, I’ve scaled it back to 20ish. As a child I had an obsession with a pair of printed jeans that my mom let me wear until they were three inches above my ankles and she had to sneak them out of my chest of drawers. And as a trend forecaster for Cotton Incorporated, denim was a constant topic of conversation. Being in charge of the denim forecast, I met with denim designers and brands all over the world. These days denim has been embraced by all walks of life and never ceases to grace the runways. Spring/Summer 2015 had a plethora of denim looks from bell bottoms to overalls in clean, dark indigos and lighter, summer shades.
A quick history: The word jeans comes from the french word Gênes, the word for Genoa, where Navy sailors first strutted around in denim back in the 1500’s. Though, it wasn’t until the 1870’s, during the gold rush, that denim took off. At this time, Levi Strauss created work wear with rivets that were quickly adopted by California coal miners. Originally made from uncomfortable hemp, Strauss eventually discovered and started using the twilled cotton cloth that originated from the French town of Nimes. The pronunciation of “de Nimes,” meaning ‘of Nimes,’ is how the term “denim” was born.
The Indigo exhibition happening in Paris gives an in depth explanation of how different regions of artisans used indigo to dye fabrics. Many of these ancient ideas are still being adapted in fashion each season. If you love denim this is a must see!
Photo credit: Marilyn Monroe, Farrah Fawcett, Katharine Hepburn, Girls on the streets of London, late 1950s, Girls getting off a plane, 1970s, Versace Ad, Alexa Chung, Vintage 70s overall dress