130001-366ProductSlim Rinsed Indigo Jeans
Even though we consider both the sky and the sea to be ‘blue’, it is one of nature’s rarest colours. Blue was also the last of all colours to appear in the languages, to be named and referenced with a specific word. In ancient texts, from any continent and culture, the world is described as anything but blue. For a large part of human history, there was no access to blue pigments and no way to render the colour for dyes or paints. But ever since indigo was discovered about five thousand years ago, its suggestive shades of blue have been highly valued – associated with power, magic and divinity. As has the plant that was used to produce them, the red-flowered Indigofera bush, native to both Asia and America in a variety of species.
The deep indigo colour cannot be extracted from the plant directly, but is released first through fermentation of the leaves and then in an alkalic solution where textiles can be dyed, traditionally by hand in large vats. Dipping the fabric in the bath results in a golden green colour, which develops into a distinctive blue when the dye comes in contact with air. With oxidation, the microscopic dye particles are fixed on the fibres, returning them to their insoluble form. This means that once dyed, indigo fabrics can last for millennia.
Indigo was the last of all major dyes to be produced synthetically, a few years before 1900. The new chemical invention completely eliminated the use of natural indigo from commercial dyeing. These new blues were pure and precise, without the slight impurities and variations of their natural counterpart. And being both cheaper and easier to use than black, they became the standard colour for work uniforms, from labourers’ overalls to police suits.
Even though indigo is the base for all blue dyes, all blue clothing, it is especially associated with denim which became the workwear of American miners and farmers from the late 1800s onwards. The characteristic three-dimensional quality in a pair of heavily worn jeans is directly related to the properties of the indigo dye. Since the pigments do not penetrate the cotton fibres but bond only on top of them, the different layers of blue are worn down gradually, top down, when the fabric is frayed.
history Coin pocket
Jeans are commonly referred to as ‘five pockets’, but when the first pairs were made to outfit miners in 1870s California, there were only three pockets – one in the back, placed to the right, and two in the front.
Soon, a smaller extra pouch, about 9 centimetres wide, was added inside the right front pocket. It was originally included to protect pocket watches, thus called a ‘watch pocket’, but was in reality used for any small belongings like tickets, matches or coins.
From the first years of the 20th century, blue jeans were designed with two back pockets and the extra pocket was gradually downsized to about 7.5 centimetres. Smaller and less commonly used for carrying watches, it has since then become known as a coin pocket.
Founded in 1992, Pimkie is an apparel manufacturer and exporter based in Bangladesh, whose factory has been ranked one of the most modern in the country. Its 1,500 employees work in platinum- and gold-level, LEED-certified factories (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) to produce woven tops and bottoms – particularly denim. In fact, its skilled workforce produces 2.8 million denim pieces each month. They are putting their denim expertise to work for ARKET, producing jeans with a more sustainable wash.