The History of Your Denim Jeans

1853: 24-year-old Bavarian immigrant Levi Strauss opens Levi Strauss & Co. in San Francisco to provide everyday items for the American Gold Rush hordes heading out West. Strauss fashions the rough canvas stocked for tents and wagon covers into overalls and trousers that would last.

A collection of various shades of blue denim fabric scraps arranged on a white background. For the Denim history page.

What’s in a name?

Due to popular demand, Strauss is forced to switch to sturdy twilled cotton from France called ‘Serge de Nimes’, which is later shortened to denim. The word ‘jeans’ derives from the French word ‘genes’ and wasn’t used by the company until the 1930s.

1940/the 50s: With the rise of Western movies and rebels without a cause, Hollywood helps jeans become popular.

The 1960s: Jeans are worn by youths across the USA and are seen as a symbol of the prosperous West.

The 1970s: International trading takes off, and jeans go global.

The 1980s: Levi’s makes a comeback with a Denim history-making advertising campaign that harks back to the glory days of the 1950s. Major designers have begun to add their own twist to jeans.

Present: Almost every designer is on the jeans bandwagon that Levi Strauss first started over 100 years ago.