Friday, April 22, 2016

Friday Video: Truly Vintage Denim: A Pair of 1840s Trousers

Friday, April 22, 2016

Isabella reporting,

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.


Marti said...
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Marti said...

I line dry my jeans so that they won't shrink. I only dispose (donate) my jeans when my size changes. I never by "distressed" jeans.

Amanda said...

I used to work at a historic site not far from Moses Cone's western North Carolina summer home. Cone made his fortune weaving denim; he was a major supplier to Levi Strauss. There was a loom on our site, and the conversations about weaving often lead to Moses Cone and his denim, as many visitors had stopped at the Manor on their way to our far more modest site. It was interesting/discouraging to look at visitors' jeans and see how many were not made of denim, which is a twill weave, but were an even-weave dyed blue.

Melanie said...

I adore denim. if someone had not invented blue jeans, I'd have nothing to wear.

Liz said...

Love these trousers, especially the hand-stitched seams. As a designer of handknits, I'm definitely in the "slow" fashion contingent. I expect my pieces to last decades, and I hope some will be passed on to another generation.

Jan O said...

Fascinating. Thanks for this. Love the video and seeing exactly what she is talking about, seams, and stitches and dye. Happy Weekend!

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