As far back as the 15th century, Genoa, Italy was famous for their cotton corduroy. From this material they developed another twill fabric that became known as ‘de Nimes’. (denims). But it wasn’t used to make jeans at that time or even for a few centuries after.
In North America denim was used mainly for cowboy and miner’s pants because of its’ strength,manufactured but not called jeans. In the mid 1800’s Jacob Davis contacted Levi Strauss to suggest a patent be put on his added idea of putting copper rivets to re-enforce the points of stress on the denim pants Strauss was selling. In 1873 Levi Strauss brand jeans were sold. Jeans continued to be used by cowboys and miners until the 1950’s when they started becoming popular for everyone.
In my book, Hawk’s Gift which takes place in the 1880’s, I was relieved that I could write:
– ‘He wore tight jeans, as though denim had been invented specifically for him.’