Denim- we have all heard of it. It has been donned by countless millions across the globe. What may be little known though, is that the fabric that was to later become ‘denim’ was at first imported from France to the United States.
The André family in the French city of Nîmes developed a new, particularly durable fabric they dubbed ‘serge’ in the 1700’s. This ‘serge de (from) Nîmes’ was shortened to “denim.” Nearly a century later, in 1848, James W. Marshall struck gold at Sutters Mill and this gave birth to the California Gold Rush. Miners were needed by the thousands.
It was during this time of great upheaval that miners found they needed clothing that could withstand all the elements and weather conditions they were exposed to on a daily basis: water, snow, dirt. Denim was just what the doctor ordered. Soon it was the standard clothing for Americans working in mines, on railroad tracks, on farms and on horseback. The cowboys were the first to bring denim into the mainstream American pop culture, but it wasn’t until the 1950s that denim began to be worn by the masses.
American film icons like Marlon Brando and James Dean popularized denim as a symbol of youth rebellion due to the fact that for the longest time denim was banned in public spaces of a certain prestige and caliber. Once Marilyn Monroe was spotted wearing denim, millions of women and girls soon followed suit.
Up until the 1950s, America produced the highest-quality denim in the world. Traditional looms, however took a very long time and resulted in fewer denim jeans produced, and denim-makers soon ditched them, replaced real indigo with synthetic dye and began prewashing fabric. This lead to cheaper and poorer-quality varieties of denim to be produced.
High quality, premium denim was still being produced though, late into the 20th Century. Beginning in the 1980s, Japanese companies bought traditional looms and authentic indigo dye, and by doing so cornered the denim market.
Within the premium denim family, selvage denim is the absolute top quality. Selvage denim is distinguishable by its deep blue colour, clean edge and organically irregular stitch. This results in a unique pair of clothing that ages beautifully.
Today, denim is arguably one style of clothing that has stood the test of time, not fading away with shifting trends. At March Clothing, we believe in offering our customers premium quality denim, which keeps you looking ever so chic, craving out your own independent sense of style, turning heads wherever you go.