If there is one fabric that comes to mind that has become so popular and widespread that it even spawned its own cult following, it is denim. Originally used for work wear, denim has since become a staple within the fashion industry and is a great display and definition of the term 'rags to riches'.
The word 'Denim' originates from the french term 'serge de Nimes' (fabric from Nimes) which referred to the indigo dyed cotton twill textile.
It was in 1873 that denim was first used for work garments, when Jacob W. Davis, a tailor from Nevada, made the first ever pair of rivet enforced jeans.
At the time work wear was not very durable and his concept for making reinforced jeans was inspired when a female customer requested a pair of durable and strong pants for her husband when he would chop wood.
With a rapid spread in popularity and the industrialization of America , Davis approached Levi Strauss & Co. and became partners, mass-manufacturing the garment and later all other styles of work wear.
During the 1950's denim jeans were worn by iconic figures such as John Wayne, James Dean and Marlon Brando, characterizing the symbol of youthful rebellion.
It was in the mid-1960/70's that saw denim cross the counterculture and used as a fashion textile, transforming the fabric that was once considered cheap and for the working man, becoming a desired fabric with the introduction of different styles and colours.
With the increasing popularity of denim jeans throughout the 20th century and a high demand for denim and other fabrics, many manufacturers sold the traditional yard wide shuttle looms, most to the war-recovering Japanese economy, and replaced them with modern, wider projectile looms.
Projectile looms were much more efficient and cheaper in creating denim, however unlike a shuttle loom, the edges of the denim we’re not 'finished' and so, susceptible to unraveling and fraying.
Denim made on a shuttle loom, known as ‘Selvedge’ denim (self-edge) named so because the edges of its denim are finished, are considered of higher quality, it is distinctively recognized by its white and red edge.
For Autumn/Winter 2017, Walsh has beautifully re-created the Pennine Adder, Sourcing 11oz Selvedge Denim from the epicentre of Selvedge denim production, Okayama prefecture in Japan, and a selection of supple suedes and leathers to create a truly unique shoe.