PPFF #69: denim

Good morning,

Something quick and snappy this morning from the sartorial world.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a chat with some French people, during which they mentioned that the common fabric ‘denim’ is French in its origin; so I looked it up in a couple of dictionaries and Wikipedia (where else?), and the following is what I found.

The English word ‘Denim’ comes from ‘serge de Nîmes’; ‘serge’ being a twilled fabric and ‘Nîmes’ being a southern town in France.

There’s a twist here though; ‘Denim’ was actually an attempt to copy another type of fabric from Genoa, Italy. Genoa in French is Gênes, which is the origin of the English word ‘jean’!
That’s right. Denim is a French attempt to recreate the Italian fabric called jean.

I know for most of us, jean and denim fabrics are synonymous. But for the record and strictly speaking, denim is coarser and of higher quality than ‘jean’ is a heavy cotton textile, of medium quality. It’s funny how an attempt to copy something turned out to be better than the original.

Have a good Friday.