Denim Manufacturing History

History of Denim


Jeans have a long history, dating 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.

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. Serge de Nîmes was a cotton twill cloth named for its city of origin, Nîmes, France, and which later became known simply as “denim.”


Denim was the staple of farm and industrial wear from the late 1800s to the mid-1900s.

In the 1950s, denim went from being solely a work and utility fabric to capturing the interests of the fashion-conscious public. 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.