Denim - the Real American Dream

When it comes to American inventions, there isn't much good ol' Uncle Sam hasn't borrowed from somebody else. In fact, it's boasted that the only true American innovations are comic books and musical theatre. We at Clementines, however, believe there's at least one more - denim.

If the American Dream was a fabric, it would definitely be denim. When the Strauss family moved from Germany to the United States in 1847, they brought with them their family's dry goods business, moving around the country from New York, to Louisville, and finally settling in the hub of Gold Rush country - San Francisco, California. Do you think Levi Strauss knew, when he invented denim, that his fabric would soon grace the wardrobes of not only ranch hands and gold miners, but ultimately everyone - from cowboys to celebrities?

a gold miner wears denim as he poses with the tools of his trade

It's no wonder denim has stitched itself into our collective consciousness - it's been a pop culture stable for almost a hundred years. When John Wayne first donned it in his breakout role in the 1939 Western STAGECOACH, it proved its mettle not only as a functional fabric, but a fashionable one, too.

John Wayne wearing denim as Henry the Ringo Kid in STAGECOACH (1939)

But denim's silver-screen presence didn't stop there - it was also a favorite of eternal heartthrob and icon of teenage disillusionment James Dean, who wore it in several films, including REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE and GIANT.

James Dean wears denim during a screentest for GIANT (1956)

In the 70s, denim got smaller as sported by Catherine Bach as Daisy Duke on the classic TV series The Dukes of Hazzard. Her iconic cutoffs and sex appeal gave these little britches their own name synonymous with her own.

Catherine Bach as Daisy Duke in 1970s TV series THE DUKES OF HAZZARD

Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake gave us one of the most memorable red carpet looks of all time during their "denim date" at the 2001 American Music Awards, and while their relationship may not have lasted, the memory of this get-up certainly will.

Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake in denim at the 2001 American Music Awards

From its invention in the 1800s to now, denim has certainly gone through a myriad of phases, styles, and treatments. Now, as denim culottes make a comeback and denim jackets can be found on punks and preps alike, the huge selection can make it almost impossible to find the perfect pair.

We at Clementines love James Jeans, a label that embodies everything we love about American-made denim. Started by Seun Lim in 2004, James Jeans is the "first denim label branded by a woman for fellow women who share a common love of fit, quality, and trust at the highest level." Talk about the American Dream!

Stop by the store at 310 Occidental Ave. S for more insight on our denim obsession, to try on a pair of James Jeans for yourself, or just to say hi!


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