Journey of Denim: From Gold Mines to Wardrobes

Journey of Denim: From Gold Mines to Wardrobes

Dwijendra Kumar

1848 when the digging up of gold mines started on a large scale in California, people from all over America flocked to the region in search of gold and make money. Levi Strauss, a clothe merchant in New York who was then 20 years of age was one among them. He took some of his clothes and left for California.

By the time he reached there, he had sold all his clothes. He, however, had a roll of canvas which the sailors at that time used as sea-flag to provide balance to the ship. To earn some money to meet his expenditures, he dyed the canvas into blue and made some pants for the miners in the gold mine. These miners were fed up with their pants made of normal fabrics as it used to get torn very easily.

The pants made by Levi, however, did not have any such problem and lasted long. Soon, Levi became a popular name in the region and those working in the farms etc started coming to him. Levi forgot about the gold and started making such pants in large numbers. He branded his pants as “Levi’s” which is still today regarded as one of the leading brands in the field of jeans. The fabric used by Levi is now popularly known as denim.

In India too, the garments made of denim is quite popular. It is quite comfortable to wear garments made of denim during winter and it provides warmth to the wearer. Even the quality of denim produced in India is quite good as India is a cotton growing country and the cotton produced here is quite suitable for manufacture of denim.

Among children particularly the garments made of denim is very popular and parents prefer it to other fabrics, as it durable and also economical. Again the top stitching and various accessories used by the garment manufacturers on their products make them quite attractive.

Besides in blue, denim garments are available across the country in other colours as well.. e.g. black, green, red, orange etc.

While we wear and appreciate denim garments, we should also know as to how this fabric is made. Denim is made either from cotton or synthetic fabric or the blend of two and is woven in the twill weave pattern. It is again dyed into various colours.

Nowadays it is washed with various chemicals and through various techniques to produce varied effects on the fabric as also for a softer feel.

A foreign product, denim has become part and parcel of Indian costumes. Those in the village and belonging to poor economic strata of the society also wear it. It is also contributing immensely to the Indian economy.

India today not only exports a huge quantity of this fabric to other countries but also the readymade garment made from it.

Indian jeanswear market is growing at 10-15 pc and is estimated to be over Rs 15,000 crore . We not only produce denims for in-house use but also export it. Lakhs of people’s livelihood is dependent on use of denims and jeans.

For women particularly those living in cities who have to strike a balance between family needs and professional commitments, jeans is a comfortable wear

Further, since women jeanswear come in variety of styles, colours and washes including embroidered and studded, in India purchase by women has raised status of denims from economy to premium product.

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