Danish model Laura Julie styled by Columbine Smille and photographed by Andreas Sjödin.

Danish model Laura Julie styled by Columbine Smille and photographed by Andreas Sjödin.


Mom jeans, jeggings and frayed hems may all be temporary trends – however, this major denim staple has proved to stand the test of time. This is the story behind the denim shirt.

What do Ingrid Bergman and Bob Marley have in common with cowboys, hippies and rappers? It’s an article of clothing that represents independence, rebellion and freedom. It’s what the original cowboys wore, what Elvis wore, and what Thelma and Louise wore. We’re talking about the denim shirt, one of fashion history’s most iconic items.

It’s difficult to tell the story of the denim shirt without going to the wardrobe staple’s roots, the fabric it’s made of (denim) and its big sister item, the jean jacket. When most of us think of the birth of denim, we think of the American west in the 1800s, but research shows that the fabric originally emerged from Genoa in Italy and got its name from the word Gênes, which means from Genoa in French. It wasn’t until a German man named Levi Strauss immigrated to the USA and settled in San Francisco that the first riveted jeans were born and the item became a staple. Going forward in time, denim went on to conquer the United States, Europe and the world in a few decades thanks to its durability, functionality and comfort as workwear. 

The jean jacket began its journey in the 1900s when it became a crucial part of Western workers uniforms. The fabric and the jacket became a symbol and began showing up in films and magazines in the first half of the century. With all the exposure in pop culture, denim went from work attire to mainstream fashion.

When the biggest stars in film, music and culture were seen wearing jeans, jean jackets, denim shirts or even Canadian Tuxedos, it became a trend. And not only that – wearing denim became a way to rebel against society, breaking the formal dress code.

Model is our Danish crush Laura Julie (Le Management). Hair by Lok Lau (CLM) and makeup by Anya de Tobon (LinkDetails). 

Denim shirts on style icons Bob Marley, Ingrid Bergman, Farrah Fawcett, Dusty Springfield and Marilyn Monroe, Getty Images.
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