Denim Definition: Definitions for the Clothing & Textile Industry

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Denim, in American usage since the late 18th century, denotes a rugged cotton twill textile, in which the weft passes under two (twi- "double") or more warp fibers, producing the familiar diagonal ribbing identifiable on the reverse of the fabric, which distinguishes denim from cotton duck. Denim was traditionally colored blue with indigo dye to make blue "jeans," though "jean" denoted a different, lighter cotton textile. In 1789 George Washington toured a Massachusetts factory producing machine-woven cotton denim. In the mid-19th century the durability of hemp cloth, of Cannabis sativa fibers, processed as in making linen, temporarily competed with cotton.

A similarly-woven traditional American cotton textile is the diagonal warp-striped hickory cloth that was once associated with railroadmen's overalls, in which blue or black contrasting with undyed white threads form the woven pattern. Hickory cloth was as rugged as hickory timber and was worn by "hicks." Records of a group of New Yorkers headed for the California gold fields in 1849 show that they took along four "Hickory shirts" apiece. Hickory cloth later furnished some "fatigue" pantaloons and shirts in the American Civil War.

A popular etymology of the word denim is a contraction of serge de N
in France. Serge weave, with a distinctly-twilled diagonal rib, is now more usually associated with sturdy woollen textiles.

Denim and modern fashion

  • Denim jeans have consistently been fashionable in American culture, but have changed style significantly throughout the years.
    • In the 1980s, tight stone-washed and acid-washed jeans were very fashionable
    • In the 1990s, very baggy jeans were in fashion, as part of the grunge movement
  • Denim jackets (or jean jackets) have wafted in and out of fashion since the 1950s. Many pop-culture icons are closely associated with the denim jacket, including:
    • James Dean
    • Deborah Gibson
    • George Michael

External links

Pioneer 1847 Companies (

Levi-Strauss and denim "jeans" (

Gap Inc and Gap "1969" denim (

The above article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (  Modified by Apparel Search 11/9/04

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