On any given day nearly half the world's population is wearing blue jeans. This is entirely extraordinary. Yet there has never been a serious attempt to understand the causes, nature and consequences of denim as 'the' global garment of our world. This book takes up that challenge with gusto. It gives clear, if surprising, explanations for why this is the case, challenging the accepted history of jeans and showing why the reasons cannot be commercial. While discussing the consequences of denim at the global level, the book consists of some exemplary studies by anthropologists of what blue jeans mean in a variety of local situations. These range from the discussion of hip-hop jeans in Germany, denim and sex in Milan through to the connection between denim and recycling in the US. But through all these intensively researched ethnographies of local denim we build our understanding of the most curious of all features of blue jeans - the rise of global denim.