Denim jeans and attire have been associated with heavy industry to high fashion and become one of the most versatile and enduring clothing styles in fashion history. Hollywood stars like Katherine Hepburn aided denim’s progress through fashion in the 70’s. And now Savile Row tailors champion its continuing success, as they cut denim suits for some of the most famous names in the world. But what of its origins, Denim and Jeans have traveled the world.
Captured in denim the Americans invented, commercialized, stylized, or popularised, in a word, Levis, American Wild West culture. But the fabric was adopted from another continent by early Americans who created functional hard wearing work gear. At the same time they introduced a style without the aid of catwalks and drop dead handsome models.
Mr. Jacob Davis a tailor from Reno Nevada decided to put copper rivets on the corners of his denim trouser pockets to prevent them from ripping. Unable to cover the cost of patenting the idea he sought help from prosperous clothing distributor Mr. Levi Strauss. Mr. Strauss added his own style by putting the garment label on the outside rather than on the inside. Thus a new style was born.
Denim (derived from De-Nimes in France) had already been styled into bell bottom trousers and worn by Italian sailors from Genoa and given the name Geans (Jeans). These trousers had very practical applications. If a sailor went overboard he could easily slip off his trousers without his feet getting caught and thus stand a better chance of staying afloat.
The style has gone from De-Nimes, to Denim, from Genoa to Jeans, from France to America and traveled the world. Style knows no cultural or geographic boundaries. Experience the history.
Now here are a couple of style tips. With this in mind you could chose a denim shirt by King Gee (Australia), floral designer silk tie by Timothy Everest (Savile Row London), a pair of grey flannel trousers by Jaeger (England), for the feet, a pair of blue and white Converse All Stars (America), dark lightweight Harris Tweed jacket (England) and a leather belt by RM Williams (Australia) this is the gear you need for working at the coalface, functionality rules the way. It’s referred to as the lean-clean style, it’s casual by framework, loose and comfortable, but formalised enough with the introduction of neckwear. So you can get into action, throw off the jacket, roll the sleeves up, loosen the tie and get it done.
Once last thing, why not try a pair of Swarovski Crystal silver designer cufflinks, just to reflect your mood and to complement your tie.
Did you know? Robert Redford stars in the definitive film of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald was a dedicated customer of Jermyn Street bespoke shirt maker Turnbull & Asser. The shirts that reduce The Great Gatsby’s socialite heroine Daisy (Mia Farrow) to tears with their beauty in the film all bear the Turnbull & Asser bespoke label.
1969 Nutters of Savile Row opens on Valentine’s Day and unleashes the Tommy Nutter/Edward Sexton style on swinging London. Backed by Cilla Black and The Beatles’ record company Apple’s executive Peter Brown, Nutters of Savile Row dresses the entire social spectrum from the Duke of Bedford and Lord Montagu to Mick and Bianca Jagger and The Beatles. Nutters is the first shop on Savile Row to pioneer ‘open windows’ and wild displays executed by Simon Doonan.
Maverick screen actress Katherine Hepburn, whose long-term lover Spencer Tracey was a customer of Huntsman, takes the extraordinary step of ordering bespoke denim jeans from her late lover’s Savile Row tailor. Hepburn’s commission foreshadows bespoke denim collections launched in 2006 by Timothy Everest and Evisu.
It’s all about style, just ask Vivienne Westwood