Tuesday, May 30, 2023

[ Denims are Unisex Fabric wonder.]

Origins of “Jeans” & “Denim”

Jeans date back to 1567 with the introduction of the word “genoese” or “genes” to describe the tough twill trousers worn by merchant sailors from the Italian coastal city of Genoa.

Levi Strauss & Co.

Denim as we know it today originated in 1860, when Levi Strauss & Co., 
which was making work pants out of a stiff canvas fabric, added 
serge de Nîmes to its product line at the request of customers 
wanting a softer, less chafing fabric.


In 1873, Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis patented their riveted work 
pant that kept the pocket and seams from bursting when doing heavy 
work. Denim was the staple of farm and industrial wear throughout 
the late 1800s and mid-1900s. It still retains the title of America’s 
favorite work pant today.

History of Denim

Denim in Fashion

During the 1950s, young America discovered blue jeans and the 
industry exploded in the United States. Blue jeans went from 
being sold as solely a work and utility fabric to capturing the 
interests of the fashion-conscious public.

This fashion soon spread to other cultures and denim became more 
than just a piece of fabric, it grew into a social statement. 
Companies like Levi Strauss and H.D. Lee quickly responded when 
American and European teenagers embraced denim jeans as embodying 
the “Elvis” or “James Dean” look.

Elvis Presley wearing denim in the movie Jailhouse Rock

Elvis Presley, Jailhouse Rock

James Dean wearing blue jeans in the movie Rebel Without a Cause

James Dean, Rebel Without A Cause

Characteristics of Denim

The basic denim jean gets its unique character 
from its yarn, indigo dyestuff, weaving and 
design, and washes and technical finishes.

Like other fabrics, denim can be dyed, washed down, 
chemically finished, or mechanically finished.

Chemical finishes can include the application of such 
substances as DP or durable press, softeners, stain 
repellents, water repellents, and others.

Mechanical finishing can include brushing, sanding, 
laser etching, color discharge, and many other novel effects.

These effects are made possible by the special character 
of denim yarns, the special character of indigo dyed yarns, 
specialized garment processing machinery, denim garment 
washing and finishing processes, denim garment overdyeing, 
and denim garment functional finishing.

Denim Yarn

The final look and feel of a denim garment depend in 
large part on its yarn. Yarn can range from soft to firm, 
even to uneven, weak to strong. The yarn’s twist direction 
and level of twist also impact the final effect of garment 
finishing as does the choice of ring or open-end spun yarn. 

In recent years, advances in the production of effect yarns, 
such as slub, accent, and stretch yarns have also played a 
part in developing new looks. With denim, yarn evenness is 
important. Even yarns provide a smooth surface that washes 
down or abrades to a uniform shade. Uneven yarns that vary 
in thickness result in great variations in shade. In fact 
with some abrasion finishing processes, thick areas can be 
abraded down to the white yarn core of the indigo dyes while 
the thin areas might be hardly abraded at all.

Yarn twist has a similar impact on color and abrasion results. 
Low twist yarns are softer and tend to wash down or abrade more 
rapidly than higher twist yarns. Yarn twist also affects fabric 
hand, stiffness, strength, skew, cover, drape, appearance, and 
other characteristics. Another yarn characteristic that impacts 
finishing is size including the mixture of yarn sizes in a single 
fabric. Varying yarn sizes will affect finishing in a way similar 
to that of slub yarns. Slub yarns are yarns spun to have long and 
thick effects in them with subs in either the warp, filling, or both. 
Open-end and ring-spun yarns can both obtain slub effects.

Indigo Dye

Indigo dye is one of the most important factors affecting the 
look of denim. When indigo dyes are used, it gives the denim 
fabric a unique ability to fade in color after repeated laundering.

Indigo dye originated as a vegetable dye from the Indigofera 
tinctoria plant from India and Africa thousands of years ago. 
An indigo-dyed robe was found during an excavation in Egypt and 
is estimated to have been made around 2500 B.C.

In the Americas at the same time, a different type of indigo plant, 
Indigofera suffruticosa or Indigofera erecta, was used to make 
Natal indigo dyes. It was an important dye for the Mayan people 
who used it to paint their sacrifices prior to scarification as 
well as dyeing the royals clothing.

In the cooler climates of the world, like Europe, indigo was also 
produced from the Isatis tinctoria, or woad plant, and Polygonum 
tinctorium, also known as dyer’s knotweed.

In 1878, German chemist Adolf von Baeyer invented the first 
synthetic indigo dye. In fact, indigo was the first synthetic 
indigo dyestuff. By 1914, almost 95% of the natural indigo 
trade had disappeared. Today, synthetic indigo dyestuff accounts 
for essentially 100% of all denim products.

Indigofera tinctoria plant, also known as true indigo

Indigofera tinctoria (true indigo)

During the 1980s, there was a designer jean craze with many 
styling variants. This phase ended in the 1990s when 
Levi Strauss & Company created the “Back to Basics” slogan. 
This began the revival of the ringspun denim but by the mid-90s, 
the designer jean craze had resurfaced with many companies 
producing their own brands. Now, advances in finishing techniques 
especially garment processes and fabric technology have created 
a high-tech denim jeans market.

Indigo dye yields a deep, bright shade of blue but with a low 
affinity for cotton, and as a result, it can be easily washed 
down in mill processing. Even the most state-of-the-art synthetic 
versions of indigo have an improved cotton affinity. Ring-dyed 
cotton is the key to many current denim garment finishes. 
Ring-dyed or white core cotton refers to yarn that is dyed 
with indigo in such a way as to keep the core of the yarn white. 
The white core is clearly visible. Without this ring-dyed effect, 
many of the most popular denim garment looks would not be possible 
but with proper cloth construction, dyeing, garment manufacturing, 
and finishing techniques, denim continues to take on fresh new looks.