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Diesel Recreates Oldest Jeans at Genova Jeans Fair

As we settle into the new year, our Sourcing Summit Companion Report looks ahead at ways to optimize processes and performance.

The Diesel- and Candiani Denim-led Genova Jeans fair kicked off on Thursday, and one of the most notable attractions was an historical recreation from the Italian denim brand.

Diesel showcased a reproduction of the oldest jeans fabric ever documented in history, featuring denim trousers woven diagonally in a blue cotton weft and white linen warp to resemble a nativity figurine by Italian artist Pasquale Navon. The brand said that the sculpture, which can be viewed inside Genoa’s Museo Giannettino Loxoro, depicts the oldest historical instance of jeans. The recreation is certified and verified by Marzia Cataldi Gallo, an art, textile and costume historian.

Diesel showcased a reproduction of the oldest-documented jeans fabric, featuring denim trousers modeled after a historic nativity figurine.
Pasquale Navon’s historic nativity figurine. Courtesy

Local townspeople and laborers in Genoa were first documented wearing jeans more than 300 years ago in 1760, when colors ranged from standard indigo to brown to white. Though France and the U.S. both carry extensive denim history, Genoa first developed jeans. Denim (or de Nîmes) fabric was first woven in the town of Nîmes in France, and sewn into jeans (or Genes) in Genoa. In 1873, Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis secured a patent to create work pants reinforced with metal rivets, transforming the garment into the 501 jean we all know today.

The jeans replica was created using handmade Italian textiles and workmanship.

Genova Jeans is the first of its kind for the city, and was organized to honor Italian denim and examine its future impact on the world. Powered by sustainability consultancy firm Eco-Age, it offers immersive experiences that expose the damage caused by unsustainable productions and highlights solutions that aim to do better.

Genoa’s historic Via Pre was decorated with legendary pieces from Diesel’s archive in an art installation titled “La Via del Jeans,” which translates to “Jeans Street.” Guests were also invited to tour the Artejeans exhibition, a collection of 36 jeans donated to the city by globally renowned Italian contemporary artists.