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Blue-jeans now have a dedicated international festival

A true object of art, blue jeans now have their own international festival. Meetings and exhibitions celebrate the famous blue fabric in Genoa. Indeed, denim was not born in the country of cowboys, but in Italy. Our analysis.

Bettina Bush Mignanego

By Bettina Bush Mignanego02 septembre 2021

The Genovajeans international festival will take place from 2 to 6 September 2021 in Genoa, Italy (Shutterstock)

The idea is ambitious. To create an international festival focused on jeans with cultural, artistical and societal themes and transform Genoa into a global forum of sustainable denim. This project, led by Manuela Arata, also known as one of the founders of the Festival della Scienza (Science fair) launched in Genoa in 2003, is the first of its kind. From the 2nd to the 6th September 2021, the festival GenovaJeans offers guests an opportunity to discover the fabric through its multiple expressions, from fashion to contemporary art as well as sustainability, to culture and tourism.

Medieval early stages

The choice of Genoa is not insignificant. Indeed, contrary to common belief, denim was not born in the USA, but in this harbor city, capital of Liguria, where the first traces of the fabric were found as of Medieval times. What we call denim fabric, with its typical blue color elaborated thanks to the use of indigo formerly extracted from the indigofera tinctori, was already used as a canvas for famous paintings of the Passion exhibited at the Diocesan Museum of Genoa and created during the 16th Century from linen fibers. They are considered as the jeans’ ancestors due to the blue color found in the scenes of the Christ’s Passion, used during Lent, before Easter.

Antique canvas. Property of the State - Ministry of Culture, with the aimable autorisation of the Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paesaggio for the metropolitan city of Genoa and the province of La Spezia.

This was the first sign of the jeans’ existence, even though one could not yet at this stage consider it as clothing. The famous blue trousers in moleskin called genoa blue, worn by harbor workers, and sold in all of Europe for their comfort and practicality, appeared during the 19th Century. The word jeans might also be derived from a mispronunciation of the word Genoa.

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