From Waist Overalls, to Denim, to Jeans - Part 2 of 6

Where did denim come from, appearing on the scene in an hour of need?

Cotton corduroy was manufactured in the Italian city of Genoa, and was called "Jean" or "Jeane" after Genoa. In France, a very strong fabric was initially called "Serge de Nimes" and later called denim. The factory began weaving the cotton fabric in a unique way.

The weft passes under the wrap threads two or more times, thus resulting in a reinforced fabric. The outer wrap threads are dyed indigo and the inner weft threads remain white. Indigo was a cheap, dark and natural dye, which hid stains.

Thus we have the word origins. Jeans from the Italian city of Genoa and denim from Serge de Nimes.

Levi Strauss added denim to his stock, exactly what Jacob Davies needed. He found that if he strengthened then further by placing copper rivets at pockets and flies, the jeans were an even greater success.

But he needed to patent the use of rivets and he did not have the funding himself. He approached Levi Strauss for help in his venture. Levi Strauss always had an eye for business, the answer was "yes", and a partnership was born.

In 1873 the patent was granted and they opened a bigger factory.

In the early days, men's jeans had front zips, and women's had side zips, but only one back pocket.

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