07 March 2009


Lecture - Thursday 5th March
Denim has semiotic characteristics within the history of denim, the fashion, branding and laundry. Denim is a white warp and blue weft fabric, which is indigo dyed. Indigo dye does not bond with the fabric, which means it often wears off, from a designers point of view this is a very good quality. There is a linguistic connection to where the fabric comes from. The French 'bleu de GĂȘnes', from the Italian 'blu di Genova', literally the "blue of Genoa" dye of their fabric, is the root of the names for these pants, "jeans" and "blue jeans," today.

The oldest pair of Levi’s were founding a mine and sold for £40 000 and are now on display in the Levi’s museum.
One pocket
Branding icon
Waist bucket
Style and fit very similar to today
Jacob Davies patented Levi’s to make reinforce denim and create better quality work wear for his miners. The first jeans made my Levi’s were sold as work wear. The Levi’s logo is two horses pulling a pair of jeans, this symbolizes that Levi’s denim is strong and ‘can’t be pulled apart’. Levi’s jeans also have a certificate attached to certify that they are authentic. Stitching and rivets are also a way Levi’s brand their jeans. Brand identity and marketing tells the consumer that these are the best jeans on the market. Levi’s were made is San Francisco for miners and sold as work wear for men. Through marketing such as adverts, Levi’s can be seen as becoming fashionable and not ‘just work wear’. Levi’s follow what the customer does and adapt to the current fashions and the story of American can be seen in the history of Levi’s. In 1943 the American Navy Air Crew began to wear Levi’s jeans, this has a connection Genovan sailors wearing denim to sea. Early imagery seen in Levi’s adverts shows just men, and not women. With the start of the war women’s fashion began to adapt, Levi’s began to change and adapt to this with new iconic ads of women wearing denim. During the 1970’s and 80’s Levi’s began to create stone washed denim which was a very cheap laundry technique in the process of producing denim. From this sales decreased and Levi’s were beginning to go down market. At this time Levi’s had a lot more competition than in previous years. In Japan people wanted authentic, high quality denim, and at this time Levi’s was not producing this. Thus forcing Levi’s to do something about it and be the number one brand again. In recent years Levi’s hace created an ‘engineered range’, this has made a big difference to the sale of Levi’s.
When creating denim, numerous techniques are used, such as various washing techniques, for instnce washing the fabric with sand which would rub off the indigo dye. As well as this other techniques include brushes, bleaching, and various sanding techniques. Today attempts to replicate the history of the garment is very fashionable. People buy into a garment which has a ready made history, almost like buying into someone else’s history, and this is created instantly which mean there is no need to distress jeans and wear them for maybe five years before they look aged.
Denim for women has not been around for very long at all. Denim as a fashion comes from America, and San Francisco plays a huge part in the manufacture of denim. Denim is very iconic, today it almost has a teenage identity, or a Rock and Roll identity, and can be seen as youthful and rebellious. Today people want to buy into this lifestyle and by buying a pair of jeans is a way it can be done for some people.

No comments: