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Jeans - Page 2

The history of denim jeans

The zip, invented by Whitcomb Judson in 1893 was used by Lee in 1926 to create the first zipped jeans. Women's jeans were zipped at the side and were considered unacceptable to have the zip at the front, like the jeans worn by men. Lee Cooper, 50 years on, revolutionised women's jeans by zipping them at them at the front, which has continued today.

America faced the Great Depression in the 1930's. Rich Americans from the East could no longer afford European holidays that they had previously. They therefore holidays in the American West. The handsome cowboys in jeans and Western plains became more and more appealing. Bringing Jeans brought back as souvenirs by tourists. Horsemanship competitions that were popular at the time also helped to make jeans more acceptable. Americans started to use jeans as casual wear.
Levi advertised its ladies jeans for the first time in May 1935 in American magazine Vogue. The advertisement showed two attractive Western girls posing. Rather than showing Levi jeans' work-wear practicality, Levi wanted to highlight the artistic aspect of jeans. Jeans could be attractive and modern, no longer seen as just worn by workers. Jeans have since become a fashion item and have entered all our daily lives.

Colourful posters were circulated during World War lI as America prepared for battle, in which jeans appeared, showing unity. A family stood in front of the stars and stripes was used in the advert, calling out to Americans to buy war bonds and support the government. They were all wearing blue jeans. During the war Levi's 501 jeans were given as a necessity to soldiers. When the war was over the soldiers sold large quantities of Levi Jeans to Europe, were they had landed to help Allied forces.
European uniform makers started to copy the American worker uniform: jeans. As a outcome of this roughly all European had a pair of jeans after the war.

Hollywood and Popular culture

After the war American popular culture blossomed. The most popular films in theatres in the 1950's were A Street Car Names Desire (1950), The Wild One (1955), River of No Return (1954) and Rebel Without a Cause (1955). Images of Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, and Marlon Brando were everywhere in magazines and weekly newspapers with these films shooting them to fame. The hottest look at the time was straight jeans worn with a T-shirt and jacket. When American movies were exported to Europe, the jean culture influenced European youth.

Jeans were also associated with rebellion and anti-tradition in the 1960's, as well as being part of American popular culture. As a way of expressing discontentment with society, youth wore jeans. Many of these youths participated in the anti-war movement when America started the Vietnam War. Jeans were the uniform of the anti-war congregation at the University of California, Berkeley. 400,000 young men and women wore jeans at the anti-war concert in Woodstock. In the late 1960's Hippies first emerged in San Francisco. The rebellious wave soon swept through Europe. Groups similar appeared in France, Britain, Italy, East Europe and Japan. Jeans played a vital role and sent an important message to the world for these youths- they were anti-establishment, independent and would do whatever they wanted.

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