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On May 20, 1873, Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis received a U.S. patent for the great staple of the American wardrobe: copper riveted blue jeans

May 20, 2024

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every year that begins at 12:00 am on day 20 of May, repeating indefinitely

On May 20, 1873, Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis received a U.S. patent for the great staple of the American wardrobe: copper riveted blue jeans.👖👖👖Davis and Strauss, based out of San Francisco, originally developed their jeans as workwear for miners, farmers, and other working men in the American West.

So when did they become so popular for everyone? In the 1920s and ‘30s, film cowboys appeared in blue jeans, and soon denim was associated with, in Vogue’s words, “Western chic.” 🤠🤠🤠 In the 1950s and ‘60s, actors such as James Dean further popularized jeans as a symbol of youth and rebellion. 😎😎😎

Did you know? Jeans are more than just a pair of pants, but have served as a symbol of American freedoms in other countries. During the Soviet era, jeans were kept out of the Soviet Union and its aligned territories (such as East Berlin) via trade regulation and heavy discouragement from the government. As a result, many living under communism saw jeans as a symbol of freedom, subversion, and the free market.

 

Noon – Rest from Work (after Millet), Vincent van Gogh, c. 1890

-Written by Anna Zemaitaitis, Communications and Design Officer

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May 20, 2024
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