I have a confession to make. I have been blogging for someone else; David Keech and Keech Design’s blog to be precise. David asked me to pick a true design classic and write about it for his blog, and here’s what I came up with.
Read this (and lots more) on Keech’s website
From baggy to bell-bottomed, skinny to slim, capris to carpenter; whatever your personal style, occupation or age, a pair of jeans will be the most faithful design classic you ever own.
Simultaneously historic (originally made in the Renaissance as utilitarian ‘all purpose pants’ in Turin), always symbolic of their era (think the ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ youth rebellion they characterised in 1950s America, or the skin-tight drainpipes that signified you were a true British mod in the swinging 60s); jeans are the ultimate in eternally modern design.
Indeed, in the words of one of the world’s greatest designers, Yves Saint Laurent, “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.”
Designed originally for work, the word “jeans” comes from the French phrase “bleu de Genes”, literally meaning ‘the blue of Genoa’, whilst denim originated in the French town of Nimes (where its name was coined). At the same time trousers were being made of denim in India, where they were worn by sailors in Dhunga (perfect then for the fact that they can be worn wet or dry); these trousers eventually became known as dungarees.
Check out more denim data below:
• The Guinness World Records cites the Gucci “Genius Jeans” as the most expensive jeans in the world, which were sold for an astonishing $3,134 in Milan in 1998.
• The cheapest jeans I could find on sale today were Primark’s £8 pair.
• The copper rivets still found in every pair of jeans today were invented and patented by Levi Strauss and his tailor friend Jacob Davis who created them to lessen the need for trouser repairs by placing them at key points of strain.
• The well-worn ‘bootcut’ style was designed for the US army at the beginning of the 20th century, to give extra ventilation to sailors stuck on hot ships for months. The legs were also tied together and were used as life preservers!
• 215 jeans can be made with one bale of cotton.
• Every Brit owns, on average, 7 pairs of wearable jeans.
• And when those trusty bell bottom jeans from the 70s do finally wear out, fear not; your dog eared denim can now be put to good use as eco-friendly home insulation! Indeed, blue jean insulation made from – you guessed it – blue jeans, is as good as the fiberglass alternative, yet far more eco-friendly.
So they transcend age, economic and style barriers, they are, and have been, multi-functional since their creation and are still providing fodder for new design development today. They are able to re-invent their ‘modernity’ to suit every era, fashion trend and climate. They are, indeed, the ultimate in simultaneously modern and classic design. Quite simply, design jeanius…