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MINISTERUL EDUCATIEI SI CERCETARII

I.S.J BACAU
COLEGIUL NATIONAL GHEORGHE VRANCEANU

ATESTAT PENTRU OBTINEREA CERTIFICATULUI DE


COMPETENTA LINGVISTICA
LIMBA ENGLEZA
2014

BLUE JEANS CULTURE

PROFESORI COORDONATORI:

CANDIDAT:

PROF. MARTINESCU ANCA


PROF. STRATULAT MARIANA

GHERVASE EMILIA-IULIANA
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Contents

Foreword..............................................................................................................................4
Introduction..........................................................................................................................5
History of the
Garment.........................................................................................................6
Origin of Denim ..................................................................................................................10
Blue Jeans are International ..............................................................................................11
Women and Jeans ..............................................................................................................11
Conclusion.........................................................................................................................13
Glossary..............................................................................................................................14
Bibliography.......................................................................................................................15

Foreword

That first thing that crossed my mind when choosing the title of the project was this
rhetorical question : Is there anything more American than blue jeans? Over the last 160
years the blue jeans have touched every inch of the American culture and they even made
a way into worlds culture, representing a cardinal point in terms of culture and fashion,
being worn by prisoners, plumbers and presidents too.
As far as I am concerned, sometimes blue jeans are the only good thing to wear.
Don't get me wrong, I love skirts and dresses, but the blue jeans are always a win.
Whether I am off for a relaxing weekend, going for a walk or simply going out or is one
of those lazy mornings when I have nothing to wear, blue jeans are a life-saver item
that should not be missing from anyones wardrobe, they are and they will always be a
wise choice. For me they're comfortable, durable and easy to match, others might find
them sexy and cool.
It's hard to deny that Lana Del Rey is a great source of fashion inspiration. Her song
entitled Blue Jeans was an extra reason for choosing this topic besides my passion for
fashion. Whether you love or hate your personal style, it is very important who you are as
a person. I think our clothes tell us who we are in a society and tell the others about our
personality, our wants, needs and destination. A French famous fashion designer called
Yves Saint Laurent once said "I have often said that I wish I had invented blue jeans: the
most spectacular, the most practical, the most relaxed and nonchalant. They have
expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity - all I hope for in my clothes."
By making this project I assimilated a lot of precious information regarding the
history of the blue jeans and how they conquered the world, but by far the most important
thing I have learned is that, in a way, blue jeans crossed class, gender, age, national and
even ideological lines: both the rich and poor, black and white, male and female wears
denim without any prejudice. Whether they were worn by cowboys or congressmen,
punks or hard rockers, blue jeans have continued to symbolize all American virtues:
freedom, independence, self-expression. This project is aimed to pique others curiosity

and motivate them to read a least a piece of information about this inexhaustible topic.

Introduction
It's difficult to find a garment as widely worn and loved over the world as jeans. The
classic symbol of the American West is now an essential item in wardrobes around the
world. But why?
The simple work pants designed for miners in California and favoured by cowboys
on the frontier is today a fashion statement and one of the most popular garments on the
planet . Studies have shown that Americans spend about $15 billion a year on jeans.
The well-knwon designer Bill Blass called blue jeans the best single item of apparel
ever designed.. His inventors, Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss, would strongly agree. They
would recognize todays blue jeans, but would be shocked at who is wearing them, and
why, mostly because they aimed to last, not to impress.
Blue jeans are also worn because they made people equal. You could afford them and
they couldnt be torn so easily. They have practical advantages as well. They dont need
to be washed as often as other trousers and women dont need to iron them. This became
more important as more and more women started working and had less time for
housework. Today jeans are an essential part of our lives. They are almost always washed
a few times before being sold to give them their faded appearance.
Blue jeans are indeed one of the greatest fashion inventions ever made. They're
practical - they never need ironing, they don't show the dirt and everything washes out of
them, and not least, jeans are hard-wearing. What was once worn simply as work wear
has now become people's - both men and women's - the single most important and
essential item of clothing!
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History of the Garment

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Jeans have become one of the most worn pieces of clothing in the world.

Cowboys may wear them but so does everybody, from farmers to lawyers , from models
to housewives. But why have jeans become so popular? Youll get many answers. For
some people they look cool, for others jeans are simply comfortable.
Top hats had their era. Platform shoes had an intense, yet short, life. Hot pants
come and go. Yet jeans seem to have survived. They have achieved the impossible:
remaining a major trend from the eighteenth century to nowdays. Jeans, trousers made
of denim clothing, have survived through centuries. All trends tend to become old and
eventually lose their place in society, some more quickly than others. Whether it is
clothing, music or attitudes, all seem to have a time limit. Fashion has often made it
across borders, social classes and genders, but few have made it through time. Jeans
have made it through all of the above, and more. Popularity usually comes with an
expiration date, but apparently not for jeans.ver
Jeans were first designed as long-lasting trousers for farm workers and miners in the
west part of America. Jacob Davis, a Nevada tailor, had the idea of using copper bolts at
the corner of the pockets to make them stronger. They became popular immediately and
soon many people bought them.
Although Davis knew that he had a great product which many people wanted to buy,
he didnt have the money to sell it on the market. He asked Levi Strauss, who supplied
him with cloth, to help him out. The two worked together and started making jeans out of
denim, which was more comfortable and could be easily stretched. It also became softer
as it got older. They were dyed with indigo because it did not go through the cloth like
other dyes do. At first jeans were worn only by workers, especially in factories. In the
eastern part of the US jeans were hardly worn at all. They were mostly associated with
rural people and the working class.
1848 was a very important year in the history of jeans; gold was found in California

and the Gold Rush attended. There was high demand from gold miners for durable
clothes that could survive harsh abuse. In 1853, Leob Strauss, the great entrepreneur,
moved to San Francisco and started a business supplying miners with clothes. For a
reason which no one is quite sure about, Leob changed his name to Levi, and the rest is
history.
It was a great help to the popularity of jeans that advertising began to have a visible
effect on society and culture when jeans were still young. For example, Levi's Jeans had a
leather label on their jeans in 1886 representing the jeans being pulled between two
horses. The purpose of this campaign was to advertise the new clothing item as strong,
made of durable material.

In the
1930's jeans
took on a
new role in
society and
popular
culture;
Hollywood
was
developing, and
Westerns was the
big character of
those times.
Cowboys were
very popular around and they were often represented in movies wearing jeans. This
amplified the popularity of jeans amongst young and middle-aged men. For the first time,
jeans gained cult status through their association with pop idols. A decade later, war broke
out and, eventually, World War II engulfed the USA. Soldiers were the new national

heroes, idols and role-models. The fact that they often wore jeans increased the success of
jeans among the men of society who were looking to copy the heroes of the epoch.
Following the war, it was common for veterans to wear jeans, especially Navy veterans.
Other countries quickly started to get accustomed to wearing jeans too. American
servicemen on duty in Europe and Japan often wore them when they were not on duty to
show that they were Americans. The trousers showed the world a happier way of life,
something that people needed, especially after what they had endured in World War II.
Denim was once a cloth that communicated class distinction. It spoke of the frontier
west, the farmer, the worker, the poor and dispossessed. Charlie Chaplin is thrown in jail
in the 1936 movie Modern Times and plays his scenes in a blue denim prison uniform.
Although some social groups began wearing denim as everyday clothing in the 1930s and
1940s, it wasnt until the 1950s that young people changed the meaning of blue denim
permanently.

In the 1950s,
jeans filled the need
of a youth culture
looking to revolt.
With the rise of
celebrities like Elvis
Presely, Marlon
Brando and James
Dean, the youth culture had a
set of changing ideals different from their parents.Their ways of expressing themselves
was through how they dressed and what music they listened to.
Before the 1950s teens wore uniforms to school or whatever adults told them to
wear. The first teens that wore blue jeans to school in the early 1950s tested adult values.
Some school systems outlawed blue jeans, inding them not suitable for the learning
environment.

The popularity of jeans continued into the 1950s. Teenagers began to make jeans
their own. 1950s youth were the first to embrace jeans as a symbol of their generation.
The appeal was caused by teenage rebels depicted on TV programs and movies such as
Rebel Without a Cause, whose star, James Dean, wore jeans through most of the
movie. Furthermore, Marlon Brando, a huge star at the time, helped make Levi's the
leading jeans brand by wearing them in several of his movies. The fact that jeans were
not allowed in schools at the time probably increased their appeal to teenagers and
solidified their connection with rebellion. The decade was also important in the history of
jeans as Levi's were first sold in Europe in 1959.
In the 1960s, television, music, and mass magazines helped create a youth culture.
Teens for the first time were aware of what teens outside their neighborhood wore and
how they acted. That realization popularized the idea of cool. Urban kids wore jeans as
if to show membership in the new tribe of teens. In San Francisco, Donald and Doris
Fisher set up a store selling records and Levi jeans. They named their store Gap taking
the name from the phrase generation gap.
During the hippie movement of the 1960's jeans became the virtual uniform of the
anti-war movement and were modified to go hand in hand with the fashion of the decade;
psychedelic colors, embroidery and cut-offs all became new and essential features of the
popular clothing. At this point in time, jeans were known and loved East of the Atlantic,
in countries such as Russia as well. Further modification of jeans into bell-bottom and
stone-washed styles allowed the denim trousers to carry their popularity into the 1970's.
Increasing world trade allowed jeans to be made and, therefore, sold at lower prices than
before, affecting sales in a positive way.
Blue jeans became to clothing what the electric guitar was to music. The guitar was a
simple folk instrument. But once electrified it helped blend youth culture and music. And
that youth culture wore a garment that was once a simple garment for workers and
farmers. The electric guitar and blue jeans helped define a culture and
a generation.
In the 1980's, high fashion designers could no longer ignore the growth of jeans'

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popularity and began to adopt them into their collections. Jeans became as popular among
women as men, causing sales to rise further. Jeans were unstoppable! They became part
of high-class designer fashion as well as working-class wardrobes. The 90's were just as
good for denim as the time past, with the new style of jeans being baggy. There are many
theories as to how this started. One is that hip-hop artists began to wear them to imitate
the clothes worn by prisoners, while others attribute the baggy style to the skating and
snowboarding community. Either way, the baggy-style was great for jeans and helped
them remain popular.
durable work wear, they

Origin of Denim

While jeans started out as


evolved into being the symbol

of comfort, leisure and youthfulness for all ages that it is today.

How the word "jeans" come to mean pants made out of denim is a question almost as
ponderable as which came first, the chicken or the egg. The name denim is possibly from
serge de Nmes, French for the cloth from Nmes, a city in France. However, it is
impossible to know the exact origins of the word denim, or even what cloth it originally
referred to. We do know that another fabric often used for work clothes was first
produced for sailors in Genoa, Italy, and was pronounced in English as jean. It was a
lighter fabric than the denim we know, but became a universal name for work pants of
any kind.
Another detail of blue jeans that speaks of history is their color. Why are they blue?
The color in blue jeans is the blue of one plant widely grown in early America Indigo.
Indigo colored the uniforms of the rebellious Americans in the Revolutionary War. It was
the blue of the red, white, and blue. Ten years before the American Revolution, South
Carolina exported five hundred tons of indigo a year, most produced on plantations by
slave labor.

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For the past century, almost all the blue


dye in denim has been man-made. Synthetic
indigo was invented in 1905 by a German
chemist, Adolf von Baeyer, the same Baeyer
whose research led to synthetic aspirin and
many of todays plastics.

Blue Jeans are International


Jeans have become one of the most worn pieces of clothing in the world. Cowboys
may wear them but so does everybody, from farmers to lawyers , from models to
housewives. But why have jeans become so popular? You will get many answers. For
some people they look cool, for others jeans are simply comfortable.
In every country from the Philippines to Turkey, India and Brazil if you stop for a
little and count the first 100 people to walk by, you will find out that almost half the
population wore jeans day by day.

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Blue jeans are truly international. Even the cotton thread in denim is often a blend of
fibers from around the world. Textile companies use multiple sources to insure
consistency. So a single strand of cotton thread might contain fibers from the plains of
Texas, the fields of India, and as wall from the farms of Azerbaijan.
Blue jeans are worn all around the world today. In Amsterdam, 40% of the people
wear jeans on any given day. In Beijing, jeans and uniforms fill Tiananmen Square. They
may be cut and sewn in Vietnam or China, using denim from mills in India or Turkey and
synthetic indigo dye from Germany or Brazil, but they are still seen as uniquely
American.

Women and Jeans


Women and pants have a long and tortured history together. In the 1600s, English
women could be executed, just for wearing mens clothing. By the first part of the 20th
century, stars like Sarah Bernhardt, Greta Garbo, and Marlene Dietrich saw pants as both
fashionable and liberating.
The first jeans for women were far from a fashion statement. Women flooded the
workforce during World War I, since there were not enough men to run the factories. To
clothe these hard-working women, the Lee company made womens Union-alls in
1914, and Levis followed with Freedomalls in 1918.
In the late 1930s, denim
western wear became a
fashionable caprice Levis
introduced Dude Ranch
Duds as well as a campaign
called Lady Levis. Denim
dude wear for women was
featured in influential
magazines like Vogue and

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Mademoiselle. The first popular woman to wear blue jeans was a fictional character
Rosie the Riveter. She represented the power of women in factories during World War II.
Late in the war, a photographer from Life Magazine first captured the now-standard
college attire of sweatshirts and jeans. In the 1950s and 1960s, Marilyn Monroe wore
jeans in many of her films. Lee Jeans sponsored her film Bus Stop, and she wore JC
Penneys brand jeans in River of No Return. In the early 1960s, Levis Strauss offered
colored Ranch Pants in red, gold, pink, blue, and indigo. But blue jeans were still
designed for men. It wasnt until the late 1970s that Calvin Klein began to design jeans to
fit womens shapes.

Conclusion

So why is it that jeans have survived through time and achieved the apparently
impossible? How did jeans manage to remain for more than a century, from one
generation to the next? What is the key to survival in general? Evolution. Think about it.
It makes sense. Jeans succeeded because they were able to change with the times. In
order to survive, something must adapt to its environment. This principle applies to all
things. Without adaptation comes extinction. It is essential to evolve. Jeans have done
exactly that. In the constantly changing world of fashion and popular culture, jeans have
been adjusted every step of the way to suit their new environment. In this case, the
environment involves trends, attitudes and looks. With every decade and every new
generation, jeans have been adapted in order to ensure their continous popularity.

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Glossary
Bar Tack = A close series of stitches crossing a piece of cloth, as in an article of clothing,
in order to reinforce it at a point of concentrated strain.
Brand = A trademark or distinctive name identifying a product or a manufacturer.
the California Gold Rush = a time in the mid-1800s when thousands of people rushed
to California to find gold
Counterculture = A culture, especially of young people, with values or lifestyles in
opposition to those of the established culture.
Dry Goods = Textiles, clothing, and related articles of trade.
Indigo = a. Any of various shrubs or herbs of the genus Indigofera in the pea family,
having odd-pinnate leaves and usually red or purple flowers in auxiliary racemes.
b. A blue dye obtained from these plants or produced synthetically.
Jean = A fabric used for work clothes.
Patent = A patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to the inventor, issued
by the Patent and Trademark Office.

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Rivets = A metal bolt or pin having a head on one end, inserted through aligned holes in
the pieces to be joined and then hammered on the plain end so as to form a second head.
For jeans, rivets are used at joints where wear is common, for example pocket corners.
Serge de Nimes = French for the cloth from Nimes, may be the origin of denim.
Stone Wash = A wash with stones to achieve a worn appearance.
Tailor = One that makes, repairs, and alters garments such as suits, coats, and dresses.
Wholesale = Of, relating to, or engaged in the sale of goods in large quantities for resale.

Biblography

Harris, Alice. The Blue Jean. New York: PowerHouse Books, 2002.
http://www.learningseed.com/
http://www.cultureschlockonline.com/
http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeans
http://psupopculture.wordpress.com/
http://bluejeans.umwblogs.org/

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