History of Designer Jean Brands
I thought I would bump up this post so our newer readers can learn about the history of denim.
Isn’t denim just the most amazing fabric out there? It’s versatile, it’s tough, it’s durable, it’s easy to work with, it’s fashionable, it’s warm, the list is endless! Denim is a huge component in the wonderful world of fashion. It’s a staple garment that everyone owns. Denim started out being worn by workers, a very long time ago due to it’s durability and it’s tough texture. Do you wonder where exactly denim comes from? Well keep reading! I have put together an article telling you all about where the gorgeous fabric came from and how it has evolved throughout the years!
Where did the name Denim come from? The word comes from the name of a sturdy fabric called serge, originally made in Nîmes, France, by the Andre family. Denim was originally called serge de Nîmes, it was then soon shortened to Denim.
What exactly is Denim and how is it made? Denim is a rugged cotton twill textile, in which the weft passes under two or more warp fibers. This produces the familiar diagonal ribbing identifiable on the reverse of the fabric, which distinguishes denim from cotton duck. It is a twill-weave woven fabric that uses different colors for the warp and weft. One color is predominant on the fabric surface. Because of this twill weave, it means the fabric is very strong.
What was Denim first used for? Denim was originally used by workers. They wore denim clothes because of it’s durability, it was extremely strong and perfect for their daily jobs, it didn’t wear out easily making it a good fabric for the long run.
How has Denim evolved throughout the years? This is a very important question, one that explains so much about why we wear denim today. Without the history behind denim, we will wonder forever how it became so famous and such a key piece of clothing.
In the 1800’s American gold miners wanted clothes that were strong and did not tear easily. To meet this demand from the miners, a man called Leob Strauss started a wholesale business, supplying clothes to people who required it. Leob and a Nevada tailor joined forces to patent an idea the tailor had for putting rivets on stress points of workman’s waist high overalls, commonly known as jeans. Strauss later changed his name from the rather plain Leob to the extremely recognisable Levi, this is when the brand Levi Strauss was created and is still extremely successful today.
The 1930’s Cowboys often wore jeans in the movies. This made jeans become very popular, as you know how much of an influence clothing in the movies has on every day wear. This lead to a huge increase in people wanting to purchase jeans.
During the 1940’s fewer jeans were made due to World War 2, but American soldiers did introduce them to the world by wearing them when they were off duty as a casual, comfy item of clothing. After the war, rival companies, like Wrangler and Lee, began to compete with Levi’s for a share of the international market.
In the 1950’s Denim became very popular with young people. It was the symbol of the teenage rebellion in TV programmes and movies. James Dean, in the 1955 film Rebel Without a Cause, was a symbol of this. Some schools in the US went so far as to ban students from wearing denim on the premises!
In the 1960’s and 70’s manufacturers started to make different styles of jeans to match the 60’s fashions which included embroidered jeans, painted jeans, psychedelic jeans etc, these were a huge part of the fashion and culture. Think of the 70’s flares with platform shoes, everyone today remembers the 70’s fashion for this, even if like myself, you were not even born then! In many non-western countries, jeans became a symbol of ‘western decadence’ which meant they were very hard to get.
In the 1980’s jeans became a very high fashion clothing. Famous fashion designers like Gucci started making jeans, with their own labels on them. This meant jeans had lost their appeal as a workers fabric now and were classed as a very fashionable item of clothing to own. Because high fashion designers like Gucci had taken jeans on, this meant that jean sales started to rocket, everyone who was anyone had to own them. More and more different types and styles of jeans were created, the flares were dropped and in came the super skinny jeans, acid washes and little Denim jackets. Denim really was taking the fashion industry by storm!
What happened in the 1990’s? Although denim is never completely out of style, it certainly goes out of “fashion” from time to time. The 1990’s youth market wasn’t particularly interested in 501’s and other traditional jeans styles, mainly because their parents: the “generation born in blue” were still wearing them. No teenager in their right mind would be caught dead in anything their parents are wearing, this meant the 1990’s youth turned to other fabrics and styles like cargo pants, khakis and branded sportswear. Since I was born in the late 80’s I definitely can relate to this. Not very many people were wearing jeans when I grew up in the 90’s.
Denim was still in vogue, but it had to be in different finishes, new cuts, shapes, styles, or in the form of aged, authentic, vintage jeans, discovered in markets, and second-hand stores, not conventional jeans stores. Levi Strauss & Co., the No.1 producer of jeans, closed 11 factories throughout the 1990’s due to the sudden decrease in want for their product.
Then what happened during the year 2000 and still is today? Jeans made a huge come back on the catwalk with big name designers like Chanel, Dior, Chloe and Versace adding them to their summer ’99 collections. Jeans were back in fashion! Was it risky for these designers to incorporate jeans back into fashion after the 90’s? It probably was, but I am very thankful they did! Jeans today are the most worn item of clothing ever!
We are over half way through the year 2009 and I can’t believe how much progress denim has made! Every single brand almost has a denim line. Not just designers like Chanel and Dior, other companies have started out purely for jeans, Diesel, Rock & Republic, 7 For All Mankind, True Religion, Nudie, Paige Premium, J Brand… The list is endless! Every year so many new faces in denim are appearing. Current/Elliott are a wonderful example, they created their brand purely for denim and introduced the boyfriend fit back into our lives!
Now articles of clothing such as dresses, shirts, shorts, skirts, coats, jackets and even leggings are produced in Denim. With all of these Denim brands in the market, I think it’s safe to say Denim will not be going anywhere any time soon! It’s here to stay! We are now obsessed with finding the perfect fit and the perfect jean, brands are trying their hardest to accomplish this task!
Denim trends also come back around! Think right now, the flared leg jeans are coming back in fashion as is the 80’s acid wash trend. As the years progress and the style changes, like everything in fashion, it repeats itself. Maybe in about 20 years time the boyfriend jean will be back in fashion!
Now that Denim is such a major part of our lives, many of us out there, like myself, love to create the fading effect and worn in look ourselves! This is where raw denim comes in to play! Raw, unwashed denim, which means we can create our own fades and our own look just by wearing them! You can see our HonestForum members raw denim and how they have progressed and faded through wear here. There are so many types of Denim: Rigid denim which is just 100% cotton, stretch Denim either containing elastane or lycra, Selvage Denim which has stitching on the leg seams inside, not leaving them uncut with raw edges, and more. There are also so many cuts: skinny, straight, bootcut, flare, capri, boyfriend, carrot fit, bell bottoms… Isn’t Denim amazing? I could talk about it forever!
Parts of this information was taken from nzgirl.co.nz, fashion-era.com & Wikipedia.com, the rest is my own.
Written by Lorna Burford
Known for his innovative designs and creating the great success of J and Company jeans, reputable designer Julien Jarmoune has taken his life-long passion and talent to new heights. After extensive research of an industry dense with ostentatious designs, he realized there was something missing in the denim market: an elegant “basic” jean. Through combining his knowledge, design capabilities, and sheer determination, Black Orchid was born as a classic line appealing to women of all ages.
The “unicorn” of the orchid family – the Black Orchid – is the rarest and most desired and often believed to hold unique powers. Black Orchid denim is derived from the same concept of rarity and beauty found in something so basic and affordable. The classic white tee of the denim industry, Black Orchid is ideal for the woman who wants to feel effortlessly sophisticated and fashionable – without breaking the bank. From this simple notion, jeans with attention to detail, comfort in fabric and fit for all shapes and sizes were created. Black Orchid is the rare flower that will become a staple in every wardrobe. Julien’s designs have been admired and requested by hundreds of celebrities over the last seven years. Names such as Cameron Diaz, Eva Longoria Parker, Paris Hilton, and Fergie are longtime fans of his work at J and Company and this high regard will undoubtedly span across to the future of Black Orchid. Within the first week of launching in March 2008, the brand signed on with renowned accounts like Henri Bendel, E Street Denim, Havana Jeans, National Jeans and Blue Genes!
Article information from www.blackorchid.us
What are two things every girl wishes for? 1. To be Rich and 2. To be Skinny. Well thanks to Michael Glasser and Joie Rucker, this dream has come true.
Launched in select high-end boutiques and department stores in late November of 2006, Rich & Skinny is an exciting jean collection created to fill a void in the denim market. Rich & Skinny is a partnership between Michael Glasser, founder of denim heavyweights Seven for All Mankind and Citizen of Humanity and Designer Joie Rucker, former owner of the wildly successful brand Joie. Glasser’s hands on experience, coupled with his comprehensive business and retail experience along with Rucker’s design sensibility has helped secure the team’s success.
After studying the market and trends, Glasser found the denim market to be stagnant and later came across a unique new European denim that blended cotton with Lycra Spandex and hence, the idea to create a new denim line was formed. Besides its incredibly soft fabrics, Rich & Skinny is also known for their wide variety of up to the minute denim styles. Their basics line offers styles like the slim sleek, super skinny, traditional boot- cut Rich, and a zipper leg jean the “vivid”. Stepping away from the traditional 5-pocket jean, they’ve created such iconic jeans as “the Boyfriend” jean, and the denim legging “Legacy” even the “Skinny Boyfriend” which take you from day to night while retaining the playfulness of the Rich & Skinny Brand. What further sets Rich & Skinny apart from other denim brands is their great color palate, consistently offering customers the choice to wear reds, purples, pinks along with more subtle colors such as Black, White, Dark Silver and a fantastic array of denim washes. The attention to detail displayed in their handcrafted signature R buttons, sumptuous silk pocket and waistband lining and a rich purple velvet label; all add to the beauty and richness of this incredible line.
With the success of Rich & Skinny, owners Michael & Joie decided to challenge themselves and create a sumpously contained line of denim for men, called “Rich” by Rich & Skinny. The men’s line is comprised of 3 basic styles, strong (slim), Bold (Boot), and chill (relaxed) and four washes. With the dynamic teaming of Michael Glasser and Joie Rucker it was inevitable that Rich & Skinny would become one of the hottest denim brands.. Rich and Skinny can be found in select retailers such as Nieman Marcus, Nordstrom and Intermix and on the bodies of Hollywood’s hottest celebrities. “Rich” is for all the details, “Skinny” is how the jeans make you look and feel. Rich & Skinny is how it makes you feel.
For more than 17 years, Joie Rucker (Co-Owner) has been a leader in the fashion industry. Her contributions over the years have played an integral role in the denim market and have helped secure her place in the industry. After completing a degree in Fashion Design from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco, Rucker began her career working for the popular brand SAM & LIBBY. Recognized for her talent and creativity, Rucker was recruited by Levi Strauss & Company to head up design for the Silver Tab jean division. There, she oversaw Girls, juniors and the Women’s collections and was known for her innovative silhouettes and washes. Rucker’s designs contributed to the company’s sales, which tripled within a 2-year period.
Rucker left Levi Strauss after seven successful years to serve as Vice President of Design and Product Development for Guess Inc. There she was responsible for twelve product deliveries per year from concept to production. Rucker was also accountable for the re-launch of the Boys division as well as conceptualized and launched Brand G; a new category for Guess Inc. While there, Junior sales grew from $200 million to $600 million annually and Men’s grew from $100 million to $250 million as a direct result of Rucker’s comprehensive experience of the business coupled with her unique design ability.
From his relatively austere upbringings at the center of premium denim and lifestyle brands in Los Angeles, Danny Guez has become one of the most influential forces in the world of chic denim and premium branded lifestyle fashion. As the mastermind behind some of today’s most popular brands, Guez’s inspirational vision has fused the worlds of fashion, media and entertainment into a market superpower.
Stemming from a long line of denim connoisseurs and fashion royalty, Danny followed his bloodlines and launched the groundbreaking People’s Liberation collection in November 2004. People’s Liberation is coveted by high end celebrity clientele, tastemakers and the most influential fashion and media personnel. By synthesizing classic lines with leading edge fashion fused with an edgy au courant style, the collection continues to garner world wide acclaim from retailers, fashion editors, and consumers seeking the ultimate premium lifestyle brand.
Despite the unparalleled success of the People’s Liberation collection, Danny’s tireless passion to drive fashion to the ultimate pinnacle and beyond, would not let him rest. From Danny’s incomparable vision came a partnership with business partners and childhood friends Justin Timberlake and Trace Ayala to create the William Rast brand, once again unveiling to the world his unrivaled creative brand building prowess.
In yet another stunning example of Guez’s unceasing ambition to fuse the worlds of fashion, media, and entertainment, he partnered with rock & roll icon Tommy Lee to create a limited collection of specialty pieces emblazoned with Tommy’s signature tattoos. The special collection pieces entitled, Tommy Lee for People’s Liberation, signify the edgy rocker’s appreciation for premium fashion and Danny’s unrivaled vision to deliver style without equal.
Previously, Danny Guez worked for Azteca Productions developing private label denim products for brands J. Crew , Pacific Sunwear, and American Eagle as well as William Rast and People’s Liberation.
Guez’s latest endeavor which launched in December 2008 is Dylan George, the highly anticipated lifestyle brand for both men and women. Dylan George establishes a new standard of apparel by marrying exquisite fabrics and handcrafted finishes with innovative, fashion-forward designs and an ultra-flattering fit. The line reflects the refined yet casual elegance of the new jet set exemplified by the exclusive Los Angeles scene where the brand is based.
As CEO and Creative Director for Dylan George, Guez states, “Dylan George allows my freedom and creativity to come together, blending my passion for art and respect for commerce. This is a lifestyle brand that draws its essence from Europe, but is clearly stamped in California.”
What sets Dylan George apart from the hundreds of other denim brands in today’s market is the authentic washes. Anyone can make a pair of jeans that “looks good” but “feeling good” is the key. Using Italian fabric and a European fit, Dylan George has created authentic washes for a price consumers can afford. Every pair fits to perfection and with the wide range of washes, there is a pair for every occasion – from casual to upscale.
Guez uses Los Angeles as the inspiration behind the relaxed-chic, yet free and sexy style of the Dylan George line. The collection has become a staple in the closets of Hollywood stars such as Alessandra Ambrosio, Anne Hathaway, Ashley Tisdale, Cameron Diaz, Christina Aguilera, Eva Mendes, Eva Longoria, Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Alba, Kate Beckinsale, Lindsay Lohan, Nicole Richie and Vanessa Hudgens.
So what’s next from the tireless visionary Danny Guez? No one knows. But one thing is for sure, it is certain to be another statement of inimitable premium fashion.