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From the Old American West to the new Lanvin trench-coat, denim has come a long way since those long hot days on the farm. After scouring through historical snaps, searching for musical muses, films, and fashion's coolest runways, we traced the evolution of jeans as a fashion staple and cultural icon to uncover how denim has become the ultimate style chameleon.
1900s to the '50s
Unless you were a cowboy or workin' on the railroad, a good ol' pair of Levi's just weren't meant for you. What started out as a workman's uniform, a pair of beat-up, worn-in jeans were made to be durable and strong, not fashionable nor cool. It wasn't until film stars like James Dean and Marlon Brando broke that stereotype in A Streetcar Named Desire and Rebel Without A Cause that denim became part of the tough, rebellious wardrobe. They were the iconic denim dudes that broadened the audience of American pop culture by taking a symbol of the working man's wardrobe and bringing it to Hollywood.
Photos by Everett Collection