The history of denim

denim in african fashion
denim in african fashion

The globally beloved denim is undeniably the number one fashion staple in the world. This durable material has stood the test of time and fashion.

An interesting fact about this versatile material is that it was actually an accidental discovery. It was discovered by the French people in Nimes as they attempted to replicate an Italian fabric called ‘serge' by mixing cotton and wool, thus creating denim.

The word was derived from the French term ‘serge de Nimes’ which was then shortened into what we now know as denim. This fabric was used to create work-wear for men with labour intensive jobs as the material was sturdy and durable to withstand the harsh work conditions.

Denim jeans were then made fashionable in the 1950s because of the music industry; it was seen as a symbol of youth and rebellion. However, the 21st century brought in a wave of creativity that saw designers introducing different colours and styles to traditional denim. Africans have put their own spin on traditional denim by incorporating their prints such as the Ankara and the shweshwe in their denim creations.

The next time you buy a pair of jeans, remember Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis, the people who saw the potential in this fabric and created what we now call Jeans.


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