Genealogy Of the Jean

If you remember my about me page I have shared my dual personality status, Dr.Jekyll and Madam Hyde.  When I’m on share your knowledge mode then we have Ma DosaKurma or Ma Mahashwanamati Manifesting. Since Mahashwanamati is in charge she has decided to speak on ‘jeans’ instead of ‘Genes’

Why jeans instead of Genes do you ask? Other than the arrogant, ‘Mere Marji’ because 28th April was the ‘world Denim Day’ and currently we are into glorifying our past, and we rest our laurels on our ancestors more than focusing  to achieve on our own. Well that’s for another post.

The world and her husband tend to use Jeans and Denims interchangeably, well, I was recently educated by my daughter who told me Denim was the fabric and Jeans was garments. Which meant if I said Jeans skirt then I’m not correct, to be precise I have say Denim Skirt.

Jean is essentially a hard wearing causal trouser made of denim or other cotton fabric.

While Denim is a hard wearing cotton twill fabric typically blue. Denim is sturdy cotton warp textile in which the weft passes under two or more warp threads. This twill weaving produces a diagonal ribbing that distinguishes it from cotton duck. The predecessor of denim is dungaree. But denim has we know today was first produced in Nimes, France. The French phrase Serge de Nimes or serge from Nimes eventually got its nomenclature ‘denim’.

The first pair of rivet-reinforced denim pants was manufactured by Jacob.W.Davis in 1873; the popularity of this Denim Jeans was so much that he had to move his production to the facilities of a wholesaler Levi Strauss&Co who supplied Davis with the bolts denim fabric.

Through the 20th century these were used as cheap durable uniform particularly as overalls for dirty works. Initially it was a one piece garment with long legs and sleeves, buttoned from throat to crotch in an olive denim fabric.

An article in Levi Untitled shares that denim in the eighties and nineties were associated with subcultures like rock’n’roll, grunge, hip-hop but has now evolved to something classier. Wearing denim is no more defying norm. It has become comfort dressing.

Somewhere in the middle aged men, I have seen that jeans with Indian kurta have become the new comfort wear or rather semi-formal wear. With a Nehru-Jacket thrown in it becomes a formal wear. While the middle aged Indian woman is still on the quest of the Holy Grail of the perfect Jean.

The younger crowd however is uniformly in jeans, it’s almost as if there is a reluctance to stand out, the need to blend is so much. Despite the poor cut and fit, jeans are wardrobe essentials in the current scenario. I don’t deny that it reduces the stress of dressing one just has to pick a jean and a T-shirt you are done for eternity.

Before we go into how denim represents a western culture, this is to inform the sanskari brigade and the keepers of Indian culture that Denims have evolved from dungaree fabric. Used by English since 1605- 15. From the Marathi Dongri. Dungaree is the historic name for the course think Calico cloth.

Advantages of Denim are it kind of establishes a commonality. It is durable, stylish, global, comfortable, low maintenance, wear tear and stains of denims are fashion statements.

While Denim is also environment hazardous particularly the fabric used for skinfit jeans. The water and cotton requirement is tremendous. The skinfit jean requires 20,000lts. Of water to produce 1kg. Of cotton.  It is also a health hazard tight fitting jeans is known to cause vagionsis in women and decreased airflow can cause infection and reduced sperm counts in men (this is still in the study stage)

Arvind Mills have however come up with an innovative weave that is environment friendly and they recycled material. More about that another time.

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