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Now listen and answer Questions 1-10.



You will hear part of a lecture about the history of jeans. First, you have some time to look at Questions 1-10.


Pause 1 min

As you listen complete the sentences below. Write no more than two words for each answer.

Now listen and answer Questions 1-10.


OK, today we're looking at contemporary fashion 'icons' as part of the module on the history and development of fashion. And perhaps the best place to start with this is with a garment that everybody in the world knows about and either wears or has worn – jeans.

Now, of course, jeans are often synonymous with the word ‘denim’, for the material they’re made from. Where do both these terms come from? Well, there isn't universal agreement on either of these things, but the story begins in Europe in the 1500s. The general belief is that the word 'jeans’ comes from Genoa in Italy, where sailors wore clothes made from a material called jean.

The word ‘denim’ is generally considered to come from France at roughly the same time. It is thought to have evolved from ‘serge de NÎmes’, a kind of material produced in the French town of NÎmes. These two fabrics were different in important ways. Denim was stronger and more expensive than jean. And denim was woven with one coloured thread and one white thread, while jean was woven with two coloured threads.

To start with, the cloth for both of them was a mixture of things. By the 18th century, however, it was made completely from cotton.

And it was dark blue because it was dyed with indigo, which was taken from plants in the Americas and India. Denim and jean remained two very different fabrics and by the late 19th century it was denim that had emerged as the most popular and widely worn. Denim was used for workers' clothes, for example, those worn by workers on plantations, because it was very strong and it lasted for a long time. Jean was used for lighter clothes. Eventually of course, the word 'jeans’ would come to be used for clothes made from denim, but that’s much later.

A key event in the history of jeans was the 1848 Gold Rush, when gold was found in California and thousands of gold miners rushed there to find it and make their fortunes. They wanted clothes that were strong and didn't tear easily. Enter a man called Strauss.

He moved to California from New York and started a business supplying work clothes. His first name was Leob, that's L-E-O-B. Later, he changed it to Levi.

Now, the miners in California were experiencing a problem with their work clothes. The pockets tore away from them very easily; they just weren't strong enough or well enough attached. In 1872, a man called Jacob Davis wrote to Strauss about an idea he'd had.

This was for metal rivets to hold the pockets and the rest of the garment together, and he offered Strauss a deal to use this idea in the clothes he was supplying. Strauss accepted the offer and started to make work clothes with these metal fasteners, made of copper. They weren’t called jeans at this time, that term didn’t come into being until the 1960s – they were sold as ‘waist overalls' and made with denim.

In 1886, Strauss added another feature to these clothes, a leather label. To emphasize how strong the garments were, this showed a pair of these trousers being pulled between two horses. The message was that they were so strong that even this could not cause them to tear. By the 1920s, because of their reputation for toughness, Strauss's waist overalls were the most widely used workers’ trousers in the U.S.

Now, up until the 1930s, jeans were purely and simply work clothes. But Hollywood changed all that and they made the journey to being fashion items. The roots of this lie in the cowboy movies of the 1930s. Cowboys often wore jeans in these movies, and American men wanted to dress like them in their free time. At this point, jeans are a wholly American thing.

The Second World War in the 1940s took them abroad, as American soldiers wore them when they were off duty. This introduced them to the wider world. But their real popularity as a fashion item really starts in the 1950s, when they caught on with young people. This was because they became the symbol of the teenage rebel. This completely new type of young person emerged in American films and TV programmes that were enormously popular with teenagers. Teenagers didn't call the clothes ‘waist overalls’, they gave them a new name - ‘jean pants’. And pretty soon, this got abbreviated to jeans.

In the 1960s, jeans were the standard kind of trousers worn by students in Western countries and they were the top fashion item. Young people adapted them in all sorts of ways, turning them into embroidered jeans by sewing brightly coloured designs on to them, and all sorts of styles emerged, one of the main ones being flared jeans, with bottoms that got wider and wider as they went down.

Right, now I'm going to move on to look at what jeans symbolised both in Western countries and in non-Western countries at that time. But first of all, does anyone have any questions?


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Date: 2015-12-17; view: 1287

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