By Carmem Gusmão / Translation: Ricardo Dantas
The history of the blue jeans began in the U.S.A. around the 1850’s during the gold rush of the San Francisco expansion. Many merchants sold tools, provisions, textile tarps for tents, and clothing to the gold miners. The local market was saturated with suppliers. That’s when a merchant by the name of Levi Strauss had an abundant over-supply of a thick textile denim tarp from India used for tents and covers.
He began to think of products to use this material with, and noticed that the miners were constantly replacing their clothing that were easily torn and worn down by the harsh physical conditions found in the gold mines.That’s how the jingle played on the Brazilian radios and television during the eighties. It’s the pure truth: a simple pair of blue jeans is a necessity to have in your closet. They can be worn to many occasions, even the sophisticated ones!
Using his experience with clothing, Levi Strauss utilized the excess tarp material to stitch together a couple of trousers made from this thick and rugged textile. He gave them to a couple of miner friends to try out and see if they would last longer in the treacherous working conditions. The test was a success, soon, Levi Strauss had the largest demand for his denim pants. The new pants lasted longer than the cotton pants then worn. The reinforced “Jeans Wear” began intentionally for the working market but then entered the 20th century with full speed ahead.
Practical, fashion, and comfort and a true symbol of the American vanguard. These are some of the descriptions we could associate to the famous jeans, the most important piece of clothing of the closet. Wear a pair of jeans with a black or kaki blazer, a basic oxford white shirt and you’re ready to attend any casual event looking super elegant. Jeans go with everything, every age, every situation, and gets better with time.
Basic, tinted, stone-washed, torn, stretch, worn, traditional or baggy, jeans are the true universal marvel. For example, here in America, the Brazilian style of jeans have been a huge success originating form the Sao Paulo Fashion Week and especially when Brazilian super model Gisele Bundchen began exhibiting the style of Brazilian model fever. They make Americans and Europeans connect the words Style and Brazil together. Today the Brazilian cut jeans are considered one of the best styles of the world.
Brazilian designer Tufi Duek (Forum brand) is well known in New York for the jeans that he designs. A good instance was this last month of March, 5th Avenue of New York had a special tribute to Brazilian style. The “Brazilian Week – Carnival from Rio de Janeiro” sponsored by Saks Fifth Avenue, placed costumes and artifacts from the samba schools of Rio together with clothing designs from Rosa Cha and Brazilian made jeans by Tufi Duek.
Jeans had an explosive popular spread caused by actors like James Dean and Marlon Brando wearing them in their movies of the 1960’s. This was sign of youth and rebellion, which conquered the young around the globe. The giants of the time were Levi’s, Lee and Mustang.
Not bad for jeans that started as work cloths to become fashion statements on the catwalks of the most prestigious designers like Giorgio Armani and Ralph Lauren. So don’t hold back on putting on those old pair of jeans, take them out, paint designs, butterflies, flowers and show them off feeling completely in style.
*Carmem Gusmao was born in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil but grew up in Amazonia in the heart of the rainforest. She has won several Gold and Acquisition Awards since 1988. Her richly colored, mystical and soulful paintings have a powerful emotional impact. More recently, she has incorporated jewelry design into her work – www.carmemgusmaofashion.com