Saturday 08 September, 2012

Rwanda : Do you know how Jeans became popular?

Talk of jeans and weekend bell will ring in some people’s minds. Jeans are good casual wears for work, travel cloth and beach item worn by all age groups and sexes.


Standing on the main street of Kigali (at Rubangura building), you look at how this type of clothing works for Rwandese especially ladies.

Do you know how Jeans became popular

This is because they are easy to wear and comfortable when running your activities like shopping or running other errands. In addition, they are matched with a lot of tops, blouses, shirts and tanks.


Having gained popularity for decades, it is important to know the origin of this widely popular cloth. After colonization, western dress replaced traditional dressing in Rwanda like other countries and that’s how jeans and other materials started appearing in the markets.


Jeans are trousers traditionally made from denim, but may also be made from a variety of fabrics including cotton and corduroy. Originally work clothes; they became popular among teenagers starting in the 1950s. Historic brands include Levi’s and Wrangler.


Today Jeans are a very popular form of casual dress around the world and come in many styles and colors.

History of Jeans

The earliest known pre-cursor for jeans is the Indian export of a thick cotton cloth, in the 16th century, known as dungaree. Dyed in indigo, it was sold near the Dongarii Fort near Mumbai. Sailors cut it to suit them.

Jeans were first created in Genoa, Italy when the city was an independent republic and a naval power. The first were made for the Genoese Navy because it required all-purpose trousers for its sailors that could be worn wet or dry, and whose legs could easily be rolled up to wear while swabbing the deck.

These jeans would be washed by dragging them in large mesh nets behind the ship, and the sea water would bleach them white.

The first denim came from Nîmes, France, hence de Nimes, the name of the fabric. The French bleu de Gênes (blue jeans), from the Italian blu di Genova, literally the “blue of Genoa” dye of their fabric, is the root of the names for these trousers, “jeans” and “blue jeans”, today.

Jeans in Popular Culture

Initially blue jeans were simply sturdy trousers worn by workers especially in the factories during World War II. During this period men’s jeans had the zipper down the front whereas women’s jeans had the zipper down the right side. By the 1960s both men’s and women’s jeans had the zipper down the front.

In the United States during the 1950s, wearing of blue jeans by teenagers and young adults became symbolic of mild protest against conformity. This was considered by some adults as disruptive; for example, some movie theaters and restaurants refused to admit patrons who wore blue jeans.

During the 1960s the wearing of blue jeans became more acceptable and by the 1970s had become a general fashion in the United States, at least for informal wear.

Notably, in the mid-1950s the denim and textiles industry was revolutionized by the introduction of the stone-washing technique by GWG (Great Western Garment).

Entrepreneur, importer and noted eccentric, Donald Freeland of Edmonton, Alberta pioneered the method which helped to bring denim to a larger and more versatile market. Denim suddenly became an attractive product for all age groups and Freeland became one of the most important innovators in the history of denim and denim products.

It should be noted, also, that Freeland contributed to a variety of other denim textile developments throughout his career with Great Western Garments (GWG).

Acceptance of jeans continued through the 1980s and 1990s to the point where jeans are now a wardrobe staple, with the average North American owning seven pairs.

Being imported American products, especially in the case of the Soviet Union which restricted hard currency imports, jeans were somewhat expensive. In Spain they are known as vaqueros or “cowboys” and in Chinese, jeans are known as niuzaiku, literally, “cowboy pants” (trousers), indicating their association with the American West, cowboy culture, and outdoors work.

Jeans can be worn very loose in a manner that completely conceals the shape of the wearer’s lower body, or they can be snugly fitting and accentuate the body.

Historic photographs indicate that in the decades before they became a staple of fashion, jeans generally fit quite loosely, much like a pair of bib overalls without the bib. (Bib overalls are loose-fitting trousers usually of strong fabric with a bib front and shoulder straps, often worn over regular clothing as protection from dirt). Indeed, until 1960, Levi Strauss denominated its flagship product “waist overalls” rather than “jeans”.


Next, we will bring to you fits and types of Jeans





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