Answer: French City
If you closely associate denim with the American West and the working class—denim jeans and coveralls are well intertwined in the history of both—then you might be surprised to learn that denim has old world origins.
Centuries ago, French weavers in Nîmes were trying to recreate the “Gênes” fabric, the French word for the Italian city of Genoa where the jean fabric (very similar to cotton corduroy) they were striving to recreate originated from.
While they didn’t quite perfect the Italian weave, they did come up with a similar twill fabric. This new fabric became known as “denim”, from the contraction of “de Nîmes” or “from Nîmes”. The coarser and more durable denim was highly sought after, becoming a staple of work wear that was used wherever hard-wearing fabric was required.
Image courtesy of Ncadene/Wikimedia.