A new exhibit at Cité des sciences et de l’industrie in Paris explores the story of the most worn garment in the world: jeans.
Described as immersive and offbeat, Jean is a deep dive on the economic and social significance of jeans as well as a peek into the industrial, technical and design world of the globally beloved garment. The exhibit also covers the role of jeans and its evolution from workwear to a symbol of youth in music, protest movements and pop culture.
The story of jeans, however, is as much about its fabric as the garment itself, the museum stated.
From the cotton harvest to the finished product, all stages in the making of jeans are explained in detail, while a fabric library allows visitors to explore denim’s many varieties and variations.
The exhibit also examines denim’s effect on the environment, particularly its overconsumption of water and pesticides in cotton cultivation, workers’ working conditions and fast fashion’s role in overproduction. New fibers, dyeing techniques and finishing technologies that are reducing the environmental footprint of jeans are also on display.
In a setting that evokes a large workshop, the museum says visitors will be invited to explore various roles in the denim industry, including a historian, designer, model and ultimately, a more enlightened consumer. Visitors are met with a thematic space that includes films, games, a “wall of buttocks” and other multimedia experiences.
The Cité des sciences et de l’industrie is temporarily closed due to Covid-19 safety restrictions. In the interim, the museum recorded a tour of the exhibit that is accessible on YouTube. The tour allows viewers to go behind-the-scenes of the exhibition and hear from some of its organizers.
Paris museums, however, are expected to reopen on Jan. 7. The Jean exhibit is scheduled to close on Jan. 22.