THE ESSENTIAL DENIM JACKET
It started as workwear, became a symbol of teenage rebellion, was presented as haute couture – and is now a hero in almost everyone's wardrobe.
THE STORY BEHIND IT
Ever wondered why the thread on so many indigo-dyed denim jackets is orange? The answer dates back to the early days of the jacket's history when Levi's first made it in the late 1800s. The brand decided to use orange thread instead of blue to match the copper rivets on their jackets and jeans. Over the years, only smaller adjustments have been made to the original and early models of the jacket.
The denim jacket became a fashion item because of its appeal to young people and the mythology that surrounded it – being linked to teen delinquency and rebellion. One of the pivotal moments in the fashion history of the jacket is its role in the iconic and trendsetting music video for Elvis Presley's Jailhouse Rock from 1957. Around the same time Steve McQueen and James Dean introduced a look that became synonymous with American style: A tight T-shirt tucked into jeans with a denim jacket on top.
For decades the jacket stayed a symbol of rebellion and actually ended with it getting banned from a lot of American schools in the 1960s. When rock 'n' roll was born, the denim jacket was a natural choice of outerwear for both the artists and the fans. The relationship between rock music and denim jackets is alive and well today, often with added patches, pins, studs or distressed collars.
If you've ever tried on a vintage denim jacket, you've surely noticed that the arms are wider and the fit feels a bit off compared to the models most brands sell and market today. We blame the 80s for that. The decade was all about big shoulders and boxy silhouettes, and naturally oversized denim jackets were on trend. But the 80s was also the decade that denim was finally accepted by fashion's perhaps most prestigious brand. When Karl Lagerfeld took the helm at Chanel in 1983, he included denim in his first haute couture collection for the label.
When the 80s turned into 90s, denim jackets didn't play a rebellious role anymore – the teenager who wore it rebelliously in the 50s had grown up and the jacket was now an essential item that came in all different colours, washes and silhouettes.
Now, in 2016, springtime has hit the northern hemisphere and one of the most reliable spring jackets is the denim one. Now, more than ever, denim is a strong trend. Look through your closet to bring out your old favourite, or check out our selected favourites from H&M below.
The Essential Denim Jacket is modelled by our Danish crush, Laura Julie (Le Management). Hair by Lok Lau (CLM) and makeup by Anya de Tobon (LinkDetails).