Jeans and a social rebellion

Jeans were first created in 1853.  When they first came out they did not seem as rebellious in all clothing terms at all.  In fact  it was quite the opposite. Jeans were touted as being the answer to what to put manual workers in. They were affordable, quite comfy and very hard wearing. In terms of versatility back then, as now, they could not be beat.  The inventor of jeans took them from French peasants designs.  This was from the French city of De Nimes, which is where the name and style “Denim” comes from.

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The creator of denim jeans had no idea that they would become the symbol of rebellion from the middle of the 20th century onwards.  Far from being a disaster in marketing terms this has proved to be the perfect  outcome for producers of denim products. It has given them even more life and longevity to their clothing product. If jeans had remained a simple workwear item it is unlikely that  they would have seen the amount of success they currently enjoy.  It is no surprise that we’ve seen designers still produce some of their best and most iconic work in the fabric.  Take for example Mens Tommy Hilfiger Jeans. These iconic labels are the perfect fit for any occasion and they are also incredibly comfortable. Hilfiger recognises the importance of Denim to his brand and these jeans are some of his flagship wearables. You can see this for yourself when you go to

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Jeans became a symbol of Rebellion in the 1950s onwards.  Before the 1950s they were something that was considered to be an essential part of the manufacturing  workers uniform. They were a welcome addition to the construction workers’ clothing in particular.  The creation of  dungarees  and other work trousers made carrying Tools particularly easier.  This was about to change,and it changed thanks to the Hollywood movie.  After the war teenagers suddenly found themselves thrust into well paid employment. There was a gap made by so many young men and women giving their lives  up in the war.  These teenagers suddenly found they had disposable income but the question was what were they going to spend it on.

Spending time with friends, going to the movies, going to dances and socials all became very important.  The movies they chose to see also featured teenagers much like themselves.  These teenagers engaged in rebellion and they were determined to make their mark on the world.  Two iconic films are “The Wild one” and “Rebel Without a Cause”.  The latter stars James Dean and was shown in colour. Dean wears an ochre jacket, white T-shirt, and dark blue turn up jeans. He is the epitome of teenage anger and angst against adults who fail to understand him.  It was to set the benchmark for rebellion clothing for the next 50 years.  Rockers, Punks, New wave exponents music all featured Denim clad Men and Women. They wore the jeans in scuffy defiance against the stuffy formal clothes of their elders.

About the author


Kim Lee lives in Tampa, Florida and focuses on living an intentionally happy life, helping others live better, and having a whole lot of fun. She loves to write, read, enjoy the outdoors, and play with dogs.

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