Have you ever wondered how America became so successful at unifying the world’s wildly diverging clothing fashions? The Cotton Industry reports:
Denim jeans represent an estimated $60 billion global market for retailers. Denim jeans can be found in the wardrobes of 96% of U.S. consumers who, on average, own seven pairs.
The history of jeans is even more fascinating:
In 1853, a Bavarian immigrant named Levi Strauss, an astute merchant in San Francisco, responded to the gold-rush need for tough miner’s clothes. Strauss switched to denim (from serge de Nimes, a twill made in southern France) and had it dyed in reliable, uniform indigo. By the 1860s, Levi Strauss’s blue pants were daily wear for miners and farmers and cattlemen throughout the West. In 1873 he bought, for $69 — the price of the patent application — an idea from a Russian immigrant tailor in Reno for making miner’s pants stronger by riveting the critical seams. They were nicknamed jeans after the city of Genoa, where sailors wore blue cotton canvas.
And then we have sneakers. In 2011, athletic shoes were a $75 billion global market, all thanks to U.S. Rubber Company:
Around 1892, the U.S. Rubber Company came up with more comfortable rubber sneakers with canvas tops, called Keds. By 1917, these sneakers began to be mass produced. (They got the nickname sneakers because they were so quiet, a person wearing them could sneak up on someone.)
All are part of the Casual Living Ubertrend, a wave cascading through life making it less formal, with consumers opting for more convenience over style.