It all started when a 20 something German decided to make “waist overalls” for his miner clients in the west coast of the USA in the 1850s. Or so the story goes. I am sure all of us would have heard of Levi Strauss accidentally bumping into a gold mine in the form of inventing something totally “American”. Blue Jeans is as American as a Hamburger or …..Hmm..I can’t think of anything else. Just goes to show how much of ingenuity the country has in terms of what it has offered to the world as its symbol(s). Well may be – fast food, gas guzzling trucks and superiority complex can be added to the list as an after thought. But the point I am trying to make is “Blue Jeans” is intensely etched in everyone’s lives here.
Standing outside Ikea the other day, I decided to do a random sampling. Out of 100 people who walked inside the store that evening, there were about 74 people who were wearing Blue Jeans. I was amused. It is more than two months since this sample survey was conducted. But I have been very conscious since then – constantly staring at people’s lower half of the body in public places – chewing over the ratio of “Blue Jeans” vs “Non-Blue Jeans” wearing American public on a typical non-working day or non-working time of a working day. The results of my completely unashamed and absolutely unscientific methods have proved that at any given time, about 70% of the American public is caught with this “Blue Gene Syndrome”.
And I decided to make peace with myself and my inner soul, that is still amused by the perennial existence of this syndrome, across all demographics and all geographies, by writing this post. The only exception to this alarming ratio is children (that too only children under ten). Even though, I am not a fashion doctor to diagnose the malignant effects of this syndrome, I can confess that I have gone through that phase myself, when my casual outfits included only Jeans (not necessarily Blue). Some indecent exposure to some other western fashion markets (read it as European) has given me some sort of a balanced view about the “syndrome” under investigation. But what is even more amusing is the mutation of the “Blue Gene(Jean)” itself that seems to have ensured the consistent ratio of 70-30 over generations.
1873 to 1950
This was the time for the “blue jean” to parasitically get acceptance by the human beings.
Patenting, Riveting, Indigo-Dyeing, Zippering – all happened around this period. As much as Levi Strauss didn’t quite like calling his invention “Jeans”, the human species, far and large had already decided the future name for this mino(e)r parasite.
1960s and 1970s
The era of blue epidemic. John Wayne wore it. And the cowboys did. The whole country was affected. The symptoms were strong and the reach was wide.
And so the era of “Blue Jean Syndrome” just continues to widen. And what does that mean for common consumers like us? Probably buying more blue jeans for our wardrobes.
What does that mean for the Levi’s of the world? Probably mutation…and more mutation of their genes..sorry..Jeans.
More of the same that don’t look and feel the same. More of the blue, yet makes you feel new.
The American symbol is far too influencing. I do not want to be left out. So I am going to get a pair for myself tomorrow just to bring my casual outfit Jean ratio back to 50% or more. My craving to be a victim to this syndrome is real.