Jean Genius! A Brief History of Denim...

Jean Genius! A Brief History of Denim...

As one of the most versatile and durable fabrics, denim never goes out of style - denim goes with everything! We’ve created a Denim Edit to fulfil all your denim dreams. Whether you’re into '50s-style denim shirt dresses, '60s mini skirts or '70s style denim our edit has you covered. We take a look back at a brief history of denim including some of our favourite denim style icons.

History of Denim

Here's the science bit: ‘Serge de Nîmes’ is the sturdy twill cloth we know today as ‘Denim’, named after the French city of Nîmes where it was first produced. An indigo dyed warp (up and down) thread is woven with a white weft (side to side) thread, so that the face of the fabric shows blue, and the back white. As the garment is washed and worn the blue dye fades and the white shows through, creating denim’s famous aged characteristics.

denim dress- denim dungarees

Image: Berlin Denim Dress, Bleecker Dungarees

‘Jeans’ derived from ‘Genes’, French for the Italian city of Genoa and named after a softer blue corduroy type fabric used to make soldiers uniforms during the Napoleonic wars called ‘Bleu de Genes’ - or blue jeans. The uniforms spread across Europe and it is thought that when a certain Levi Strauss moved from Germany to the USA in 1851, the first jeans moved across the Atlantic with him. The rivetted jean that Levi Strauss patented in 1873 quickly became popular with workers, miners and most famously, cowboys. The first Lady Levi’s were developed in 1934.

denim dress

Image: Berlin Dress, Bleecker Dungarees

1940s Denim

Our Lena Jeans channel the nautical style culottes of the 1940s. These cropped jeans combine a loose wide leg with a slim fitted high rise, that fits to the smallest part of the waist, creating a flattering balanced silhouette. Lena features a rigid, vintage-washed cross hatch denim with front welt pockets to avoid extra bulk at the hip; back welt pockets prevent drawing attention to the bottom; a zipped fly and button fastener and belt loops so you can add your best vintage belt. Tuck in a printed blouse for smart casual!

double denim

Image: Crosby Tee, Lena Jeans

Double Denim

The one style rule that you should never break is the faux pas of double denim, right? Wrong! In our book, twice as much denim is twice as nice! Double denim has been rocked by style icons from the '50s through to the '70s - from Francoise Hardy to Dolly Parton. We pay homage to the Texas Tuxedo, the holy trinity of blue jeans, denim shirt and denim jacket in a hand painted watercolour illustration, printed on fine striped jersey T-shirt. Pair with (you guessed it) even more denim! Our Crosby Texas Tuxedo Slogan T-shirt says it all...

The '50s Rebel Without a Cause

We couldn't share a brief history of denim without mentioning the teenagers of the 1950s. Jeans became the symbol of youth rebellion in the 1950s, when James Dean sported a classic Lee blue jean in the 1955 film, Rebel Without a Cause. They became a wardrobe staple, a dressed down look that defied the formality that had gone before, as the teenager was born. During the '60s, wearing denim became much more popular and by the '70s, it became the bi-word for casual, and styling developed into dresses and skirts too. Here’s our guide to the top Joanie denim pieces this season.

double denim

Image: Trucker Dress, Crosby Tee

Swinging '60s Denim

The 1960s saw hemlines rise and the mini skirt was born! Our Sarah Skirt in denim is a classic A-line mini in a mid-blue wash. Sarah features a scallop hemline, a suitably '60s detail, as well as added hip pockets - making it a practical, easy to wear and super stylish choice for any sixties loving gal!

denim mini skirt

Image: Cilla Jumper, Sarah Skirt

Seriously Cool '70s Denim

No history of denim would be complete without a look at the effortlessly cool 1970s. Dig that '70s look? Our Fawcett Jeans in dark stretch denim with a cropped wide leg silhouette, ultra flattering high waist and retro crisscross belt loops are inspired by Farrah Fawcett. Tuck in a slogan tee or stripe sweater and pair with a baseball boots for Farrah Fawcett cool.

70s denim

Image: Fawcett Jeans, Brittany Jumper

Just not a jeans gal? Meet Charlie, our '70s-inspired button-through midi skirt. Charlie comes in a dark wash stretch denim with slimming panel detailing, side slant pockets and back patch pockets. This easy to wear A-line skirt gives you the classic 1970s silhouette and is both practical and cool.

denim midi skirt

Image: Charlie Midi Skirt

Denim for days! Shop our Denim Edit, where you'll find an array of styles perfect for any blue jean baby! You’ll love these versatile denim styles with all-year-round appeal.

Click HERE to shop our Denim Edit.