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Recognizing 140 years of farmers’, ranchers’ attire: blue jeans
Denim-clad farmers gather around a tractor to discuss issues important to agriculture.
By Jessica Domel
Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis forever changed American wardrobes 140 years ago when they used a small copper rivet and some sturdy cotton twill to create blue jeans.
Using blue denim material, the patented cotton rivet allowed Strauss and Davis to manufacture stout work pants that, 140 years later, have become an icon in American culture and fashionable wear for both work and play.
Blue jeans are definitely at the heart of the activities on my family farm. When we were younger, my brother and I used to joke that we had never seen my dad in anything but denim blue jeans and a denim work shirt. His closet was comprised of denim.
It still is.
And as I travel the state talking to farmers and ranchers, I’ve learned something -- my dad isn’t alone.
I’ve seen how denim can protect your legs from the sun, being cut on brush, and many other things. It’s most certainly saved my legs from bull nettles a time or two, and for that I’m forever thankful.
I’m also thankful that, even though I wear my jeans more so for fashion than protection, they’re made of comfortable cotton. And apparently I’m not the only one.
According to Cotton Inc., 66 percent of consumers reported that they were bothered that retailers and brands might substitute synthetic fiber for cotton in their blue jeans. More than half reported that they’d be willing to pay a bit more to ensure their denim blue jeans are made of cotton.
Also, Americans also own, on average, seven pairs of blue jeans. That’s one for each day of the week. Coincidence? I think not.
So how do you feel about your blue jeans? Levis, Wranglers, or some other brand? Are jeans the center of your wardrobe or just a weekend accessory? Are you a straight leg or relaxed fit with a flare?
Either way, I think we can all agree, Strauss and Davis’s small copper rivet, and the jeans it holds together, now play a big role in our everyday lives.
Jessica Domel is a field editor for Texas Farm Bureau.
Editor’s Note: This article was first posted May 21 on Texas -- tabletop.texasfarmbureau.org.
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