Denim jeans are over 140 years old and you can spot them on the street as well as on the catwalk. The classical jeans is a basic element for every wardrobe. It is not surprising that in its one and a half centuries of existence, denim has been at the center of many interesting stories. Let us present seven of our favorite tales.
1. Liberté, égalité, fraternité
The meaningful words of the French revolution are known all over the world and still play a significant role in France. Who would have thought that equality of the genders was not constitutional until very recently? Only in 2013 women were officially allowed to wear trousers without having to break the law while doing so. It sounds like a bad joke, but compulsory skirt wearing for women was a legal obligation until February 1st 2013. Of course, women all over the country – led by the one and only Coco Chanel – had already stopped living by the rule decades ago. However, the government changed the article officially no earlier than 2013.
2. The jeans, the East and the West
The socialist East did not want to have anything to do with products from the capitalist West. But there was one thing they could not keep their hands off: blue jeans. In the GDR, wearing blue jeans was a reason to get kicked out of school and get official house bans. Jeans became normality only in the 80s, when denim production had arrived in Eastern Germany. Even though the local production was inspired by English names – the brands were called Shanty and Boxer – Eastern youth turned up their noses at them and preferred waiting for a package from relatives in the West, carrying a pair of the original brands.
3. One man, one pair
He is the man who optimized the design of electronic devices and casually revolutionized what we knew as technology: Steve Jobs. The late founder of Apple was not just a fan of a bite taken out of an apple but also of one particular item of clothing. No matter if he was going to a meeting, a press conference or if he was seen on private footage: Steve Jobs never left the house in anything but his favorite Levi’s 501.
4. An icon of femininity in menswear
It was a provocation and a revolution: Norma Jean Baker, who many of you might know as Marilyn Monroe, was photographed in blue jeans on a Californian farm in 1945. A woman in robust menswear that was strictly for labor – what a way to inspire and shape generations of women ever since.
5. One woman to conquer the trousers’ world
The film icon Marie Magdalene Dietrich, who became famous as Marlene Dietrich, preceded Marilyn Monroe in a jeans scandal: Dietrich wore the forbidden item as early as the 1930s. She was the first woman to wear trousers in a movie. Marlene Dietrich chose to free herself from compulsory skirt wearing and impressed with her emancipation during the shooting of “Morocco” in 1930. High waist, classic cut, inspired by suit trousers: the “Marlene” is still a known style dedicated to her braveness.
6. Genre trousers
Indie rocker, pop icon or heavy metal aficionado: every music genre has its own jeans style. Nonetheless, baggy pants are probably one of the most defining symbol of a genre. What would hip-hop style be without low-slung, loose trousers? The style does not originate in music, but in the US penitentiary system: New inmates were taken away their belts, since those were often being used to commit suicide. That is how trousers slipped lower and lower and established themselves as a cultural symbol in the rap business and then worldwide.
7. A former president in jeans
In 2007, German chancellor Angela Merkel visited then US president George W. Bush on his ranch in Texas. Texan by birth, Bush’s roots sure did not indicate he would receive his German colleague in a tuxedo. Nevertheless, the international press was taken by surprise by him greeting the German first lady in a short-sleeved shirt and blue jeans.