Jeans, ubiquitous heavy cotton trousers made famous by 1950s rockers as we know them go back to the 1860s. At this time Levi Strauss and partner Jacob W Davis began to make work trousers out of the fabric known as denim. The trousers became popular with cowboys around this time, and because of their inexpensive price and hard wearing nature became popular with travelling workers during the dustbowl era.

Jeans though go further back, all the way to the 15th Century, when jeans fustian meant a durable cotton cloth, specifically fustian from Genoa, in Italy. Fustian itself has origins in Latin, fustaneum or fustanum in late Latin refers to a cloth possibly from Fustat in Egypt.

Denim too has an origin from a place name. Originally serge denim, or serge de Nîmes, where serge is a wool cloth, also with origins in Latin: serica, meaning silken.

So when you wear denim jeans, you are wearing the latin for silk, from France, made into Genoese fabric from Egypt.

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