Fashion History: The Invention of Blue Jeans

Above is the picture of the patent for “Improvement in Fastening Pocket-Openings” that would become the blueprint for the blue jean.

There’s a reason Levi’s are synonymous with blue jeans. It was Levi Strauss who invented the true-blue pants. An immigrant from Bavaria, Strauss worked at his family’s dry goods store in New York when he decided to move west in hopes of making a fortune during the gold rush.

It was in San Francisco that Strauss opened his own dry goods store that counted many of the miners as customers. Over the years he became a successful businessman but that was just a taste of the success that was yet to come. Enter Jacob Davis.

Davis was a tailor in Reno, Nevada and would frequent Strauss’ store. He wrote a letter to Strauss explaining his method of tailoring pants with metal rivets at the pockets and zip front, to reinforce them for the working conditions of the miners. In the letter he stated that he didn’t have the funds to patent the design, but was hoping Strauss would supply the monetary means so the two could go into business. An enthusiastic Strauss quickly agreed and the two were granted the patent for “Improvement in Fastening Pocket-Openings” on May 20, 1873. This date is often called the birthday of blue jeans.

Image via moderhistorian

Sources history.com, About.com, modernhistorian

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