State Fabric

Denim

The origins of denim, the State Fabric, are found in the tough fabric itself and the history of Gold Rush California. The word denim is a 1695 Anglicized version of a particular type of French cloth from Nimes – “de Nimes.” This cotton-based, bluish-grey fabric was introduced to American mills by the 18th century and used for less expensive, mass-produced clothing.

Two European immigrants, San Francisco dry goods merchant Levi Strauss (1830-1902) and Nevadan tailor Jacob Davis (1832-1908), jointly patented work clothes in 1873. This sturdy riveted line of clothes became popular with miners, farmers, and workers. By World War II denim was associated with a popular “Western” style of apparel, known by the iconic name “Levis.” Since then, they have been marketed to the world as a popular, casual style of dress.

(Assembly Bill 501, Chapter 873, 2017)

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