It’s hard to imagine a wardrobe without denim jeans. What started out as hard-working wear for men has evolved into a fashion basic for men, women, and children. The old-style dungaree (from the Hindi “dungri” meaning a coarse cloth) is still around, but increasingly the jeans market is dominated by stretch denim that dresses up or down.
Denim trivia: if you look closely at your jeans, you will see that the denim has a diagonal pattern in the weave. As every school kid knows, weaving takes a filling yarn over-under-over-under the warp yarns (the same technique applies to lattice pie crust!). For denim and other twill fabrics, however, the filling yarns go under and over two or more warp yarns. This creates an offset pattern from one row to the next. The addition of spandex fibers allows the denim to "give."
American jeans used to mean Levi, Wrangler, and Lee, to name a few. Today, Levi jeans are made overseas. Wrangler and Lee brands are owned by VF Corporation, which also owns Chic Jeans, Riders, and Rustler brands. VF Corp. has manufacturing plants located in the
Luckily, there are a surprising number of American-made jean options available. For a definitive (almost) listing of jeans still made in USA, see Stephanie's Guide to American-Made Jeans. (I tried to include the tables here, but blogger doesn't seem to like them!) I have divided the brands into two categories: traditional “serious” jeans and up-scale luxury jeans. Admittedly, my groupings are somewhat arbitrary, but jeans that cost over $100 a pair (and some up to $200 a pair) cry out for special treatment!
There is a confusing array of these luxury jeans, featuring hand sanding, grinding, and “destroyed effects” (i.e., the price includes having someone wear them out for you!). I did not find much to distinguish among the high-end, couture jeans; all the brands I list appear to be made in
Here's an interesting article on the booming luxury jeans market: Explosion of pricey premium-jeans market has created intense competition and, some say, a bloated inventory for retailers. By Jennifer Davies (San Diego Union Tribune, October 5, 2005)
One final note. I did not include USA Works jeans in the table because they are presently being imported. However, Sapko International, which makes USA WORKS, says they are on track to restart
As always, I welcome comments, additions, and corrections. Let me know what you think of Stephanie's Guide to American-Made Jeans.