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Jeans have existed since the 1600s in Eurpoe according to these vintage paintings

Although it is popularly believed that jeans were created by Levi Strauss 150 years ago, the versatile fabric has existed for much longer in Europe.

Jeans have existed since the 1600s in Eurpoe according to these vintage paintings
Cover Image Source: Facebook | Galerie Canesso

Distressed denim or wide-legged jeans, most people turn to Denim as an effortless way to look good. However, contrary to popular belief, the casual and comfortable fabric is not a modern invention. According to what certain paintings depict, jeans could have been in use as far back as the 1600s. An exhibition titled "Master of the Blue Jeans," created by a 17th-century Italian painter, is opening in Paris this month and reveals quite a few things about the beloved fabric, per Smithsonian Magazine. It might have been in use in the earlier centuries, just in a different form.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Neosiam
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Neosiam

Even though Levi Strauss is considered the man behind creating the fabric 150 years ago in California, these paintings shed light that jeans are much older than that, per Artnet News. The painter behind these paintings is unknown and referred to by his moniker "Master." However, the 10 paintings that would be on display can be traced back to Northern Italy. However, not much else is known about the painter who created the artworks depicting poor people from that time in Italy. However, it has been observed that jeans in some shade of blue were an evident part of all of these paintings, either as a frayed apron or as a dark blue denim skirt.

These jeans seem to be created out of the blue denim and white threads. "People are still not very familiar with the true history of blue jeans, as they confuse it with the material made by Levi Strauss," Maurizio Canesso, the owner of Galerie Canesso that would be featuring the paintings, shared. "One has to distinguish between blue jeans and denim: jeans come from Genoa, while denim comes from the French city of Nîmes," he added. If one wants to differentiate between the two, the Italian ones have perpendicular stitches, while the French ones have Chevron Patterns.

"The Master of the Blue Jeans is the only one who painted jeans," Canesso explained. "These paintings are the story of a family: they are always the same characters, wearing the same clothes—clothes that they used every day. And they are true jeans fabric: when it tears, the white thread comes out." He even remarked that Levi Strauss was the one who came up with the idea of selling denim as work pants. All he did was add metal rivets and structure to something that existed in Europe, even before he started selling them.

Another interesting thing about the origins of the fabric is its color. Blue was a hard color to come by in those times and could be quite expensive. In fact, before the year 1000, nobody knew how to make blue color. "In the year 1000, this begins to happen using woad leaves, and at a very high cost. The genius of the Genoese was to find the indigo stone in India and make this an industrial and, therefore, low-cost process," Canesso revealed. However, despite the multiple questions, the exhibition holds great significance for the city. "We are ready to host in Genoa an event that will lead to the rediscovery of one of the world's most famous fabrics and garments whose origins are inextricably linked to our city," the city's mayor, Marco Bucci, told The Guardian


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