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Origins: Genoa, Italy & Nimes, France

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The origins of  modern denim fabric can be traced back to Genoa, Italy and Nimes, France.  A  sturdy cotton indigo-dyed fabric called bleu de Gênes (blue from Genoa) was produced in Genoa, Italy. When weavers in Nimes, attempted to replicate the cloth from Genoa, they produced a serge fabric (heavier, twill woven fabric) called serge de Nîmes (serge from Nimes). Bleu de Gênes is the origin of ‘blue jeans’ and serge de Nîmes is the origin of the word ‘denim’.  By the 17th century, the fabric was vital to the working class in northern Italy. Early cargo lists indicated that these low-cost, durable fabrics were shipped beyond the local regions to northern Europe.

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