Denim Garment Finishing: History

History of Denim

During the 1950s, young America discovered “blue jeans,” and the industry exploded in the United States. This fashion soon spread to other cultures, and denim became more than just fabric — it became a social statement.


The history of jeans dates back to 1567, when the word “genoese” or “genes” was used to describe the tough twill trousers worn by merchant sailors from Genoa, Italy.


Modern-day denim originated in 1860, when Levi Strauss & Co. began making work pants out of serge de Nimes, a cotton twill fabric named for its city of origin, Nîmes, France, later known simply as “denim.”

Today’s familiar denim jeans originated in 1873, when Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis added rivets to their work pants to keep the pockets and seams from bursting under the strain of heavy work. When denim crossed over from work clothes to fashion, companies like Levi Strauss and H.D. Lee quickly responded to meet teenagers’ demands for the “Elvis” and “James Dean” looks.