The clothing that most Americans wear today has a short and dismal life - clothes that are cheaply made overseas, designed for today's fashion instead of longevity, and often discarded after a season or two. Some garments don't even last that long, doomed by shoddy construction and inferior fabric. It's the modern curse of Fast Fashion.
These trousers are something else entirely. They've not only had a long, long life; they've acquired a soul, too, and they just might be the great-grandfather of our modern jeans. Curators guess that they were made about 1840, before sewing machines, and all the seams are stitched entirely by hand. But that's only the beginning of the evolution of these trousers, as this short video explains.
The trousers are featured in the Denim: Fashion's Frontier exhibition currently on display at the Museum of FIT, New York. It's a fascinating, thoughtful show (you can see more highlights here) and if you're in New York, you should see it. But hurry: it closes on May 7, 2016.
Many thanks to Nicole Bloomfield, conservator at the Museum of FIT for suggesting this video.