Three facts about jeans that you probably didn't know
Throughout the years they've been worn by cowboys, gold miners, bikers and other rebels. Nowadays they're worn by just about everyone and can even be found scattered throughout the pages of fashion magazines. But no matter how much the times have changed, they've always remained just what they are: jeans. These famous pants now come in a variety of shapes and styles: classic, faded, stonewashed, shredded, boot cut, low waist, you name it. But no matter what they look like, they are always made of the same rugged denim material that has made them so famous.
The pants that we refer to as jeans today were invented by Jacob Davis, a Latvian who had come to America to claim his fortune during the Gold Rush in the late 1800s. He didn't have much luck finding gold, but he did manage to make a fortune when he had the idea to start making and selling pants made of the rugged denim material that was used to make the gold miner's tents. This very sturdy and light fabric was first produced in Genoa, Italy, hence the name "jean" which was what Genoa sounded like when pronounced with an English accent. He bought the material from 23-year-old Levi Strauss, an immigrant from Germany.
Davis's pants were an instant hit. The hard lifestyle in the west required rugged clothing and his jeans were just what people were looking for. Davis and Strauss soon joined forces and founded Levi Strauss & Co., patenting their product on May 20, 1873.
About 70 years after their invention, jeans experienced something of a Renaissance when American youth began wearing them. They went from being a standard work pant to becoming a symbol of freedom and rebellion. Slowly but surely jeans made their way into the wardrobes of people from all walks of life and can now be found in almost every closet and dresser in the country.
But do we really know everything there is to know about jeans? Here are three facts about this famous garment that might just change the way you think about your Levi's, Kaporall, Salsa, Diesel...
1. The small pocket on the side
What is this little pocket actually meant for?
What do you usually put into it? Your coins, your keys?
In fact, this small pocket on the side has a very specific use. This video shows a lot of funny possibilities and finally reveals the truth... Amazing!
Before the invention of wristwatches, people kept their watches in a jacket pocket. Since most people didn't wear jackets while working, Davis and Strauss added an extra watch pocket to their jeans. Very clever!
2. Small metal buttons
You would think that these little "buttons" are just there to add some style to our jeans.
But the original reason is much more practical. When Davis created the first jeans, he had the idea of using copper rivets that he had used in previous designs.
The purpose of these rivets was to keep all the sewn parts in place so that even after years of intense wear and tear the jeans do not fall apart. They're almost unbreakable!
Today most people don't need this kind of rugged clothing so the rivets are actually just for show. But they still look good, don't they?
3. Washing your jeans
Most often we just throw our jeans in the laundry with everything else. But did you know that jeans actually don't need to be washed that often?
"A good pair of denim doesn’t really need to be washed in the washing machine except for very infrequently or rarely," explains Chip Bergh, president of Levi's.
Jeans are made to be worn without washing and a study even proved it. Researchers tested several pairs of jeans and found that they had as much bacteria on them after two weeks without washing as they did 15 months after washing! What a great way to save money on laundry detergent.
Denim also stretches to form to our bodies, so the more you wear your jeans, the better they'll fit. Washing them shrinks the fabric and this natural form fitting gets lost in the process.
But if you don't wash your jeans, they will start to smell after a while. You can get rid of these odors by putting them in a plastic bag and leaving them in the freezer overnight. Or you can hang them in the bathroom while you take a long hot shower. In both cases, be sure to hang them outside afterward to dry and air out for at least 30 minutes. Goodbye odors!
So, now that you know all of their deepest secrets, do you think you'll ever look at your jeans the same way again? Jeans really are more than just a pair of pants — not many pieces of clothing can claim to have such a rich and storied history. Yves Saint Laurent knew this all too well when he proclaimed, "I have only one regret, not to have invented the jeans." And that truly says it all!