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The History And Future Of Denim

4030 words - 17 pages

As the world revolves, there are a lot of changes that happens in the world. For example, in terms of technology, there are a lot of improvements already. Back then, for example, features of mobile phones were only call and text. But more ideas have been developed and people have started to think about how to improve some things so that they can attract more consumers. The result is there are now more, in this case, high-tech phones with carious incredible features such as access to social media, hi-quality camera’s ability to upload to and download from the Internet, e-readers, and video calls for quicker and easier communication.
In the world of fashion, there is denim. It is one of the world’s oldest fabrics, and has been modified and remodelled to go with the latest fashion trends. The first ones who wore this fabric are workers in the California Gold Rush era, designed by Jacob Davis because of its sturdy material that withstood the harsh working conditions. Not just them, even sailors from Italy use this material too as their sailing uniform. Then, it started appearing as an actor’s apparel, and that’s when denim started to become one of a fashion item. People started wearing jeans as part of their daily apparel and even adding their own ideas, such as studs and colouring it with different shades of denim. It doesn’t only stop around that era, but today, they are seen everywhere and has become a major clothing piece for almost all of the age groups. As a reference, we can see young children already wears jeans as part of their clothing, the teenagers added jeans to their wardrobe, and even for the seniors, they consider jeans as a simple and comfortable clothing pieces.

The Early Days of Denim
The Genesis of Indigo

Most jeans are blue, while some are dark, looking similar to black. The blue colour is from the indigo plant, which produces a dark blue extract for the clothing. Before indigo was found in them, Isatis tinctoria, commonly known as woad–which is also the moniker of the blue dye obtained from the plant–was used for colouring. The flowering plant, however, yields less apparent blue colour compared to indigo.

Figure 1.1 Isatis tinctoria plant [Courtesy of]

The extraction of woad began with the chopping of woad leaves into a horse-driven mill, which then made into balls by hand and left to dry afterwards in special drying sheds for about four weeks until they were hardened. The dried balls then underwent a procedure called couching, where the balls were crumbled into powder, sprinkled with water and allowed to ferment. When the couched woad was dry, it was packed into barrels ready to be used by the dyer. The dyer poured hot water onto the couched woad in the vat. This mixture would be allowed to ferment for three days before the dye bath was ready, and cloth was wetted before dipped into the vat.

Figure 1.2 Woad balls. [Courtesy of]...

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