Denim fabric, most commonly used for jeans, is a type of twill fabric. Serge is another name for such a fabric, and way back in the 1500s it went into serious production in Europe. One particular variety was made in the town of Nimes, France. It came to be known as serge de’ Nimes. (serge of Nimes) Over time that got shortened to the word ‘denim’, used the describe the largely un-changed fabric. Right from the start it was even common for it to be dyed in blue.
500 kilometers down the road was the port of Genoa. Now Genova, Italy, at the time it was the independent Republic of Genoa and a major trading hub. Nearby towns were making trousers out of the strong, blue denim fabric, which were popular trading items in Genoa. So popular they came to be known (in french) as bleu de’ Genes. I think you see where that’s going.
A couple hundred years later and these blue denim jeans were still being made, and offered by a wholesale merchant in California by the name of Levi Strauss. It was actually one of his customers, Jacob Davis, a tailor, who came up with the idea of using copper rivets to reinforce the weak points on these popular work pants. He took his idea to Strauss to put it into production and… I think you see where that’s going.
Bonus fact: Bleached jeans were cool a few hundred years ago. The blue denim trousers were official issue for Genoese sailors, and they washed them by dragging them in nets behind ships. The salty water and bright sun would bleach them white over time. So, with fashion peaks in 1603 and 1992, watch for bleached jeans to be cool again in 2307.