This month we are disusing the influence of denim on our culture. It is hard to talk about denim without talking about the denim jacket. The denim jacket has been a wardrobe staple for workers since the early 1900’s when the first jean jacket was produced by the Levi Strauss Co. Their main invention the “Blue Jeans” found great success among the ranchers and miners and it didn’t take long for Strauss to realize that the new pants needed a jacket to go along with them.
Rumor has it that the first jean jacket was invented back in 1873 but did they not go into mass production until 1905 and it became an instant classic.
A few years ago Levi’s had a competition to locate the earliest denim jacket produces by the company in the Unites States. Apparently the winner turned in a jacket that was created in 1910 at a Levi’s factory in San Francisco, California. The jacket sold for $2,000 to vintage clothing collectors that were keen to make the article part of their collection.
Some of the newer jackets from the “First Edition” series created in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s can still be located or purchased for anywhere between $200-$500.
Other denim companies like LEE Mercantile and Wrangler also came out with their version of the Jean Jacket. Some of the older railroad denim jackets created by LEE that were used by railroad workers can be found at various vintage clothing shops or on ebay auctions.
Jean Jackets in Pop-culture
I am sure that there are not very many wardrobes that a jean jacket has not been part of at one time or another. From the 1950’s through the 1980’s the jean jacket was used to show the rebellious side of ones nature.
Every subculture has found away to adapt denim jackets to their genre, from punkers to prep’s and cowboys to hippies, jean jackets are used to represent one’s true colors.
Today, teeny-bopper stars in Hollywood rock their jean jackets as much as the metal head on sunset strip.
The popularity of denim jackets fades in an out over the decades but it seems the trend is coming back again stronger than ever.
Celebrities and rock-stars alike have their pictures taken everyday wearing some variety of a jean jacket in it’s entirety or with the sleeves cut off turning into a vest. A vintage blue jean jacket is very much in demand now, with many buyers for vintage clothing store stocking their shelves with a range of sizes and styles. This clothing is not only worn by metal heads now, but is now very much in favor by fashion conscious people as well.
Now I leave you with a girl and her jacket…