The capsule collection Blue Blanket x Candiani RISERVA celebrates jeans’ tradition and history, combining their Italian origins with those features that defined them in the United States and Japan. Leave with us for this journey to the roots of denim (and sustainability), which has begun over 500 years ago and is not over yet.
The origins of jeans in Genoa in the 16th century
Jeans' fabric, as we still know it today, dates back to the 16th century, when Genoese fustian emerged among all the different qualities produced in Italy and France at that time, for its yarns were spun with cotton fibers (instead of hemp, linen, and wool) and the blue warp was dyed with indigo (instead of woad). Genoese sailors used fustian to cover shiploads and produce sails, but they later found it suitable for creating almost indestructible workwear.
Genoese fustian had great success, especially in London, where it was common to call fabrics after their city of origin, mangling names. Genoa became hence geanes, jeanes, and, finally, jeans.
The role of the United States and Japan in the history of denim
Jeans’ fabric originated from Italy. However, the riveted 5-pocket jeans we still wear today were born in the United States, where Jacob Davis and Levis Strauss patented them in 1873, and they became the unforgettable garment worn during the Gold Rush in California. That is why the 5-pocket jeans are inevitably associated with the American frontier.
When denim brands started mass-producing in the 1960s, quality and attention to detail were left by the wayside. Thanks to Japan and its meticulous artisans, who embrace US culture like no one else worldwide, jeans’ legacy was preserved and enhanced with accurate replicas of the iconic garment.
Antonio Di Battista and the heritage brand Blue Blanket
The city of Pescara is not in California nor the Okayama Prefecture, but it is home to Antonio Di Battista and his heritage brand, Blue Blanket.
As a kid, Antonio liked to watch Spaghetti Western movies with his father, a very popular imitation of cowboy movies that were filmed in Itlay. When he found out that the trousers worn by cowboys were called jeans, he begged his uncle to bring back a pair from a business trip to the US.
That first jean ignited a whole new passion and led him to pursue the profession of denim designer. But unlike others, he preferred “getting his hands dirty” to desk work. And so, he spent most of his time developing jeans collections inside manufacturing facilities, industrial laundries, and fabric mills, learning all the important details of the trade.
During his career, Antonio traveled countless times to California and Japan to research the early days of Western wear and to accurately collect authentic vintage pieces of historical relevance. Within time, he built an archive of over 2,000 pieces, which grew his passion even bigger and led him eventually to dream up his very own version of the American icon.
A Blue Blanket is what Linus depended upon for reassurance and comfort, and Antonio wants you to feel just the same way about his jeans: blue, reassuring, never without.
The selvedge denim capsule Blue Blanket x Candiani RISERVA, a walk-down jeans history
Since the beginning, Blue Blanket was built on US and Japanese details and fabrics in the pursuit of keeping its creations true to the story… but this unique story started long before the Wild West, and there is only one mill that preserves the tradition of Italian denim manufacturing in that very same area where everything started centuries ago. Candiani Denim cherishes the legacy of Italian denim with Candiani RISERVA, authentic selvedge fabrics woven on original shuttle looms that celebrate the origins of jeans before blue jeans.
All the details of the fabrics used in Blue Blanket x Candiani RISERVA are designed to reflect the authentic character of the pieces selected from Antonio’s archive, recreated by experienced local artisans according to the designer’s instructions. The result is an outstanding collection that harmoniously blends all the chapters of jeans’ history together, balancing heritage, aesthetics, and quality.
Heritage, quality, and sustainability
The garments of Blue Blanket x Candiani RISERVA are meant to be worn raw, i.e., without the typical industrial washes that have been common since the end of the last century. To keep the traditional way of wearing jeans alive and, at the same time, merge aesthetics and ethics, we also suggest limiting domestic washes, which alter the natural fading of garments and consume a significant amount of water.
According to Levi Strauss & Co Life Cycle Assessment 2015, on average, we wash a pair of jeans every 2.5 times we wear it, consuming 695 liters of water during the entire life of the garment. Wearing jeans at least ten times before washing them would reduce this consumption by 75%. Moreover, a traditional industrial wash can consume from 70 to 150 liters of water.
Raw denim saves, hence, about 631 liters of water (in addition to the chemicals used in industrial washes and the energy used both in the laundry and at home). However, we suggest washing your raw jeans every six months, or even once a year, to prevent them from bleeding blue and let them fade naturally.
Raw jeans get, indeed, their beauty from heavy use, fading according to the habits of those who wear them and merging heritage and sustainability principles. Blue Blanket’s jeans are also made in Italy with high-quality raw materials and are meant to last as long as possible. Remember that denim is the only fabric that becomes more beautiful as it ages!