Sorry, Levi’s: Turns Out, Jeans Are Way, Way Older Than We Thought

While many like to believe that Levi Strauss invented denim as we know it in 1873, it turns out that jeans have a much, much longer history. Historians have known that denim fabric is actually centuries old, but have been murky on details of its regional origin, pointing to Nimes in France or Genoa, Italy. Thanks to a collection of newly discovered paintings that just went on display in Paris, fashion history is becoming clearer. The 17th-century paintings by an anonymous artist (called “Master of the Blue Jeans”) all feature what appears to be denim in very detailed illustration. Art historians were able to figure out that the works came from Northern Italy. On the exhibition, the famed high-fashion denim designer Francois Girbaud said, “This calls into question the entire history we have been telling up until now. And that’s what’s fun.” Neat! [France 24]

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