BACK POCKET FLASHER Paper or cardboard flapped attached to the right back pocket of jeans, used as a means of commpunicating the difference between denim fabrics, finishing, shapes and sizes. A strategic marketing tool, is so expresses a jeanswear brand’s images, featuring illustrations, copy and graphics that evoke such themes as western-style, American ‘50s, eco-consciousness, romance and high-tech.
BAEYER, Adolf von *1835 (Berlin, Germany) †1917, German chemist who developed the first synthetic indigo dye in 1879, after many years of research. He then sold the patent to German company BASF AG.
BAGGY A style of jeans, loose and very wide. Elio Fiorucci is said to have invented the first baggy jeans back in 1978, during the Safety Jeans periods. Also called carrot.
BALL *1974; Italy/Germany; by CFM International Spa/Bellini Warenvertriebsgessellschaft mbH. Conceived by Aldo Ciavatta (CFM International Spa, Italy) and very popular in the early ‘80s, The line is regarded as teenager basic. From 1974 to 1985, Dutch Henri Fetter BV acquired the production and distribution rights for Benelux and started distribution in Germany in 1977. In 1989, when Ciavatta’s company was facing bankruptcy, Stefanel, aiming at the jeanswear market, rented all of its labels. Stefanel’s newly founded Compagnia Finanziaria Moda srl kept Ball until 1991, but after CFM International Spa’s declared bankruptcy and subsequent auction, The German Bellini agency (which had tried local distribution in 1987) bought the label worldwide, together with Closed.
BALL WARPING A step in denim making in which the individual threads formed at spinning are combined for further processing. The yarn threads are pulled together into a single continuous strand and wound onto a wooden beam called a “ball warp”.
BANDANA A colorful printed handkerchief complementing any jeans look. From the Hindu “bandhnu”, for a primitive tie dye technique. Cowboys’ bandannas were brightly colored squares tied around the neck or face to keep out dust. In the U.S. during the ‘50s and ‘60s they resurfaced with the revival of cowboy style. The ‘80s saw another comeback thanks to mucic idols Bruce Springsteen and Little Steven, who wore bandannas, typically printed in red and white or blue and white, wrapped around their heads. Also, Milan’s Paninari liked them at the neck or wrist or as headbands, and in the early ‘90s, rappers kept them tied under their baseball caps.
BANKRUPT CLOTHING COMPANY, UK One of the major jeans retailers to make a reputation in the late ‘80s, Bankrupt runs nine stores, mainly in the north and Midlands. A denim specialist, it claims to have more than 300 styles of jeans of 100,000 pairs of denim in stock at any time, including 25,000 pairs of Levi’s. Founder Paul Caplan used to run The Jeanery chain in the early ‘80s with his father and brother, but Bankrupt is his own venture.
BAR TACKS Closely spaced stitched that connect to form a band or a bar that reinforces the corners and edges of pockets, seams, tucks, belt loops and buttonholes.
BASF AG, Germany. The chemical group BASF (Badische Anilin-und Soda Fabrik) owns the patent monopoly on the production of synthetic indigo. The chemical formula invented by Adolf von Baeyer in 1878 for the indigo-equivalent dyestuff was immediately acquired by BASF. A process of industrial production was developed with great financial expenditure. The first indigo produced by chemical process was launced on the market in 1887
BELT BUCKLE Indispensable complement to any wstern or jeanswear look. Though seemingly ornamental its origins are practical: The hardships of western life called for comfortable but well-fitting pants. Consequently, strong leather belts and sturdy buckles became “vital” goods. As embroidery, studs and geometrical applications were added to belts, decorations started enriching buckles with scenes of life in the fields, rodeo images and local flora and fauna. The most expensive buckles are made of silver and adorned with precious stones, especially turquoise. Several leading European jeanswear brands, such as El Charro and Chambers, have made their fortunes starting as belt and leather goods importers.
BASICOS STUDIO, France. Charles Amzallag used his experience designing for his own company Brownie to form this Paris styling office responsible for about 70 collections each year in sportswear and jeanswear for clients such as Aviatic, Setrak and Big Star France/Made Engine. Looker Graphic Concept, their seasonal jeanswear trend book, is one of the only reports created by jeanswear specialists.
BASICS Easy pieces and perennial commercial favorites, including the five-pocket jeans, the western shirt and the bib’ n’ brace.
BECKARO *1936; USA/France; by Signoles SA. Originally a U.S. brand, created in Wyoming in the ‘30s and out of circulation since the ‘60s. The name was inspired by the bucking broncos, or “buckaroos,” of the rodeo. Jean-Michel Signoles of Chipie bought the label in the late ‘80s, and in 1991, he relaunched the brand from France. The collection is based around several original models, including the “Regular,” a five-pocket in Japanese denim, woven on old, narrow looms using mother cotton.
BELL BOTTOM A jeans style born in the late “60s popular in the ‘70s. Tight at the waist (sometimes lowered) and the thights, the trousers flare out from the knee down. Threatened to make a come back at the end of the ‘80s, but didn’t quite catch on.
BELL BOTTOM *1970; Italy; by Thun Srl. Born as one of the first indigenous Italian alternatives to American jeans. Bell Bottom was conceived by Roberto Francardo (later founder of CMF Trading Company) and Francesco Famea. The line declined with the onset of the designer jeans wave. Its historical heritage was acquired in 1989 by Thun, where it is designed by Pierpaolo Savorelli, who has supervised the product’s creative aspects since the very beginning.
BELT LOOPS Standard feature added to jeans when the belt replaced suspenders as the preferred method of holding up pants. Regular jeans have five to seven belt loops; other have double belt loops or additional loops at the back. Wrangler boasts extra wide belt. Levi Strauss added belt loops to the 501 in 1922, though the suspender buttons remained until 1937.
BENDIX JEANS *1975 †c.1980; Germany; by Bendix & Co. Modelle. The German label was significant in the ‘70s through a permanently up-to-the-minute collection and by utilizing the then outstanding French cut. Target groups were 15-to-30-year-olds. The label was discontinued in the late ‘70s or early ‘80s.
BENETTON *1965; Italy; by Benetton Spa. World famous Italian brand that has spread around the globe with a very individual form of “franchising” and an original concept: to sell piece-dyed knits in a variety of color assortments, at very good prices and with the turnover. Started in 1965, Benetton’s knitwear was soon supported by jeans and casualwear. The original jeans brand, launched in the 1974, was called Jean’s West; it soon became an independent retail chain, then closed at the beginning of the ‘80s. In 1987 Benetton’s jeans were baptized Type De Nîmes, and featured mainly classic pieces. In 1989 they were replaced by Anthology, A line that introduced ring denim and exposed selvage, and in 1990 the denim collection came to include Blue Family, which incorporated stonewashed fabrics, treated the jeans way. With 5,000 retail outlets in 80 countries, Benetton’s jeanswear business amounts to 2,500,000 pieces a year (1991).
BENNETON, Luciano *1935 ( Treviso, Italy ) An innovator who combines a strong commercial pragmatism with a visionary market sense and a “do good” ideology. The Benetton founder embodies his company’s success story, although it is really a family business. His intelligence and charismatic appearance have been a very convincing vehicle for the company’s rise.
BENSIMON DENIM *1991; France; by S.B.S. SA. The sophisticated work-inspired collection, with a distinctive paper loop tag held by a back pocket rivet, is a complement to Serge Bensimon’s highly successful Autour Du Monde sportswear line for men and women.
BENSIMON, Serge *1953 (Oran, Algeria) As both a designer and a retailer, Serge Bensimon had a great influence on jeanswear concepts in the ‘80s, although he didn’t start his own Bensimon Denim collection until 1991. In 1989, he opened a high-end, multi-label jeanery in Paris called Denim General Store, which inspired many others to do same. Bensimon developed his fashion instinct working with his father Simon’s military surplus business where, in the early ‘80s, he pioneered the revamping and redyeing of surplus items. In 1986, He turned surplus style into a sportswear collection called Autour Du Monde for men and women with a Paris shop followed by a string of free-standing shops and corners.
BERAN, Dieter A. *1935 (Germany) An expert in the jeans industry who was prominent on the market in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Among his greatest triumphs are the successful market positioning of the U.S. label Wrangler in Germany and the built-up of the German jeans label Pioneer. At the same time he was also renowned as a retailer. After various sales activities in the industry Beran turned independent in 1965 as a trade representative an took charge of the Wrangler label, among others. Impressed by his above-average turnover, the U.S. company appointed him manager for Germany and vice president for Europe in 1967. Under his management Wrangler become one of the leaders in the German jeans market. Beran left Wrangler in 1976 in order to devote more time to the retail business he started in 1966. Beran built up the Pioneer jeans label for the German company Ahlers in 1977 and helped the label to its ultimate success. In 1982 Beran gave up his position as managing director of Pioneer to concentrate on his retailing activity for his own chain of jeans shops, Western Store Beran GmbH.
BEST BLUE/DE VILLE *1984; Italy/Germany; by Delon Consultant Handels GmbH. Originally designed as a basic-oriented denim instant range in the medium price segment. Distributing company Heinrich Dattler GmbH first presented the young Italian label from De Ville Spa to the German jeans market in the February 1988. One season later the line was separated as a Young Fashion collection, and Best Blue became a pure denim line with good fits. De Ville was discontinued in spring 1990. Distribution for Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Scandinavia of the reformed casualwear-oriented Best Blue line has been via German-based Delon Consultant GmbH since 1990.
BEST COMPANY *1987; Italy; by Simint Spa. Originally designed by Olmes Carretti and produced by Alfredo Saltini’s Biesseci company, Best Company started as a sweatshirt label. Its success was meteoric, thanks to Carretti’s colorful flowery patterns, embroideries and ecological messages, which started a strong future trend. The resulting jeanswear line was joint venture between Saltini and Marcello Fratini, who formed a company called United Corporation. Having bought his label back, Saltini sold it to Simint in 1990. The line has a junior extension.
BEST DIRECTION *1984; UK; by Best Direction Ltd. A menswear collection from Second Image with a strong jeans element. Originally designed to by slightly more expensive complement to the populary priced womenswear line. Since the late ‘80s, it has been marketed as a European-produced, European-styled casualwear range.
BIB ‘N’ BRACE -> Dungarees, Overalls
BIG E Period jeans by Levi’s (1936-1971), considered the quintessential 501, with exposed selvage, natural indigo and ring fabric. So-called because the Levi’s name on the tab was spelled with a capital “E” (->Collector’s Items)
BIG-E *1991; by Big-E Project. The nickname given to the famous Levi’s period 501s was registered worldwide to brand a compact range of perennial jeans pieces, all of which quote original items, focusing on their fabrics, fit, proportions and details. The collection, licensed worldwide to CMF Trading, features three pairs of jeans, two western jackets, three rodeo shirts, chino trousers and vegetable-dyed T-shirts.
BIG JOHN *1968; Japan; by Big John Japan. High-grade basic jeanswear, specialized in innovative washes. Japan’s technological lead in stonewashing substantially contributed to the label’s rapid establishment. Big John gained its first successful export experience in Sweden in 1976. In the early ‘90s the key export markets were Benelux, Germany, Spain and Sweden.
BIG MILL *1981; Germany; by Lauffenműhle GmbH. Registered trademark and division of Lauffenműhle weavers. Starting point of the Big Mill idea was the recognition that growth-promoting strategies for the jeanswear market would have the come in the future from the weavers. With Bigg Mill, Lauffenműhle was aiming to create an image of its own as supplier to the jeanswear industry on the international market. First notable triumph came in the ‘80s with stretch denim, which was jointly developed with Du Pont. Already in 1986 Lauffenműhle could be counted as one of the sportswear industry. When Big Mill had given the weaving company the required denim competence, the trademark was no longer emphasized.
BIG STAR *1975; Germany; by Big Satr Holding AG Switzerland. In the early ‘80s, Big Star was on of the best-selling jeans labels in Switzerland. The young, fashionable jeans and sportwear line is stamped with the All American image. To reinforce this, the Big Star company surrounds the label with traditional U.S. labels for which it undertakes distribution. Since 1990, Pierre Morrisset has been designing the jeanswear collection, classed in three segments: Basics, Authenctic and the U.S. Legend model.
BIG STAR FRANCE *1975; France; by Mad Engine Sarl. Jeans brand that shines particulary bright in the women’s market, where it is credited with a great fit and good quality-price ratio. Mad Engine also produces jeans for children under the Little Big Star label. Big Star’s high profile in France is the product of teamwork beetween founder Alain Knafo and his brothers and sisters.
BIP *1971 †1984; Germany; by Bierbaum-Proenen GmbH & Co. KG. One-time jeans label by the workwear manufacturer distributed only in Germany. With a pure denim trousers program for specialized jeans retailers, the family business entered the jeans market in 1971. The line was discontinued in 1984.
BISCOTE *1975; France; by Jack’ Sell Sarl. The line, with its better logo inspired by the legendary Babe Ruth, is known for its distinctive baggy overalls launched by Guy, Marcel and Jacques Zenou in 1982. The brand’s image also centers on Biscote’s successful down jackets and its strong women’s jeans. The company has its own shops in Paris and Cannes and in Okouama, Japan.
BLACK CHANGE BLUE Denim fabric made with black overdyed indigo warp yarn, it “fades” into deep blue after a number of washings.
BLACK DENIM A denim weave using black yarn rather indigo. It fades to deep gray or to salt & pepper and has become a classic colour for jeans, preferred by tough urban guys and girls. Wrangler claims to have been the first to introduce black denim back in 1950, producing the outfit for American TV character and rodeo hero Hopalong Cassidy.
BLACK PIZZA *1990; Italy; by Emanuel Spa. Initially designed by Tiziano Mazilli and Louise Michielsen, targeting 14-to-24-year-olds, the line started with strong styling and expensive packaging, but eventually become more commercial, with an eye to prices, while retaining a young trendy appeal.
BLEACH Essential ingredient in giving denim a faded look. Bleaching can be achieved with Hypochloride of Sodium or Potassium Permanganate. The latter can leave a yellow tint that purists don’t like. (-> Pinto Wash Denim)
BLUE BELL INC. , USA; Original parent company of Wrangler wich was born when Blue Bell diversified into western wear in 1974. Blue Bell was acquired by VF Corp. In 1986, and Wrangler is operated as a seperate division. The history of the business that became Blue Bell goes back to 1916. To R.W. Baker and the Jellico Clothing Manufacturing Co. In Jellico, Tennesse. Through a series of expansions and mergers it became, in 1943, Blue Bell Inc. The firm was at one time considered to be “the United States Steel Co. Of the work clothes bussiness,” being largest maker of bib overalls, dungarees and work coats. Over 24 millions garments were produced by Blue Bell for the U.S. Armed Services during World War II, and after the war, Blue Bell diversified into the civilian clothes market, making pioneering efforts in sanforizing, proportioned fit and information labeling for apparel.
BLUE COLLAR A term denoting a working-class person, so-called becaouse of the shirt made of blue denim or chambray usually worn by workers.
BLUE DENIM BLIBLE One of many non-apparel items that cashed in on the jeans craze of the early ‘70s. The King James version, in modern English, covered in denim and costing $1.95.
BLUE JEAN BY VENTILO *1988; France; by Ventilos SA. A collection of five-pocket jeans for women in indigo, colored denim and stripes which complements the heritage style for men and women. Designer Armand Ventilo and his brother, Jacques, have been active s