Originally a durable and sturdy fabric staple of Italian workers in the early nineteenth century, denim has evolved and taken on a new life. The genesis of this evolution began with the Levi Strauss company. Originally a dry goods merchant, Strauss took up the patent of a designer producing custom denim pants for women working farmland and then migrated to the American cowboy as a favored fabric. | NEW Shop Denim Collection up in our Lookbook online. Image Marvin Gaye and Jane Birkin.