are the most popular type of clothing in the world; but they are not
modern! In fact, jeans have existed for over 140 years.
In 1996, someone found some very old clothes in an old mine in Nevada,
USA; they included a pair of dirty old jeans. Today, those jeans are
very valuable, and they are now in the Levi Strauss Archival
Collection, in San Francisco. The jeans, which are over 120 years old,
are the oldest pair of Levi's 501 jeans in the world.
They are almost the same as a modern
pair of 501's; there are just some small differences in the detail. For instance,
today's 501's have two back pockets, the old pair just has one.
THE STORY OF JEANS
Jeans were the classic clothes of the American West.
In 1853, a young tailor
called Levi Strauss, began working in San Francisco; Levi sold thick canvas
the miners used the canvas to make tents.
One day, a miner told Levi that he could
not find trousers that were strong enough for work in the gold mines.
Levi decided to make some trousers out of canvas.
Very soon, he had sold all the canvas
trousers he had made! They were just what miners wanted.
However, the canvas was rather heavy and
Levi therefore began to look for a different textile; soon he found a
heavy textile from France; it was called serge de Nimes
Americans just called this de
, and this name soon got reduced to denim
Denim was a bit lighter than canvas, but
it was very strong; it was ideal for miners.
However, original denim was almost
white, and miners did not like the color! Their denim trousers got
dirty as soon as they began working!
Levi Strauss therefore decided to use
colored denim, and he chose
dark blue. In 1873,he began to make denim trousers with metal rivets to
make them stronger. This was a radical new idea: "Blue jeans" had
Levi's jeans were so popular, that his
company got bigger and bigger; soon, other firms were making blue jeans
too. Miners liked them, but so did cowboys and other working men. Blue
jeans became classic American working trousers.
After the Second World War, jeans became
popular all over the world. Today, blue jeans are made over the world
– most of them in Asia. Very few jeans are now made in the
USA, because of the cost: but it is still possible to buy blue jeans
that are made in San Francisco.... if you have a lot of money to spend.
Today there are hundreds of different brands of
Many top fashion brands, like Armani or Benetton, make their own blue
jeans. But for real authentic jeans, "Levi's" are still the most
JEANS for EVERYONE ?
In America, everyone wears jeans as leisure wear
people wear jeans all the time, even for work. But Americans are
perhaps less formal than other nations.
At the "G7" summit in Denver, in 1997, American
President Bill Clinton gave all his visitors jeans, for a "Western
evening". Tony Blair, the British Prime Minister, put them on, but
other European leaders, including Chancellor Kohl of Germany and
Jacques Chirac, the President of France, refused. Some people still
think that jeans are not respectable clothes!
Not the young! Jeans are now the
international uniform worn by young people. Why? That is a good
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