Where does denim come from?

Denim is a material that can be found in lots of different clothing items, from the Mens Tommy Hilfiger Jeans  that you can buy from through to handbags and even shoes, it is material that is so versatile that it has almost endless uses.

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But where does denim come from? Denim is a derivative made from cotton.  Cotton is an incredibly versatile material that we use in a lot of clothing and have done for centuries.  It is an organically grown plant but has been subject to certain modifications down through the years which has made it even more hardier than it was originally. It originates in tropical regions and subtropical regions of the world.  It grows with a great abundance in Africa, Egypt and India where it was used specifically for clothing dating from ancient times,  we have evidence of it dating back to the Indus Valley civilization some 5000 years ago.  It is a deep thick fibrous material which makes it perfect for hard-wearing clothing, however it is also light enough to be used in warm weather and for work wear.

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Cotton is picked from the plant and then spun into a yarn this makes it a particularly easy to feel material that is very easy to shape into clothing. It is to date the most used natural fibre in clothing in the world which doesn’t have any artificial manufacturing involved. At present India is the largest producer of cotton with the United States being the country that brings the most in.  It can also be grown in the Americas, usually in the deep South.  Currently almost 3% of the World’s land is devoted to the growth of cotton.

As Europeans began to travel more, cotton was one of the first things they realised would be beneficial to themselves. In fact during his travels around India the writer John Mandeville sold Cotton Tree wool.  He likened the small white bulbs of cotton as 2 sheep in a field.  He also noted that the small bulbs were easy to pick and harvest. The widespread use of cotton came about through Conquest. Italy discovered its use via the Silk Road but with the Normans Conquest of the islands of Sicily the secret was revealed to the rest of the Continent.  Commerce centres such as Venice and the Dutch ports soon began to be  trade points for Cotton’s distribution throughout northern Europe. Naturally this fibre was hailed as something of a miracle and welcomed with open arms.

Cotton has proved to be a contentious material in history.  It was used as the basis for an economic support unit during the American Civil War.  Huge swathes of the deep south had been converted to cotton plantation and it was picked by the slaves there. This trade kept the South in much needed revenue for it to continue its will against the North. In Britain the north of England was moved over to the production of cotton for garments.  Workers were forced to work in poor conditions and Mills which brought many workers from the fields to the factory. This created the large urban populations of Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool and all that we see today.

Joe Hammonds

Hi, I am Joe; I am an entrepreneur, father, mentor, and adventurer passionate about life.

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