It’s not breaking news that skinny jeans revolutionized the modern American woman’s wardrobe—before they got big several years ago, we were forced to prance around in boot-cuts, flares, and other denim styles that weren’t always the most stylish. But here’s something you may not know (we certainly didn’t!): the stretchy fabric that came into fashion when skinny jeans hit the market literally changed the way the American dollar is created. Here’s the deal.
There’s a company called Crane, who since the 1800s has printed U.S. paper currency. Since that time, they’ve relied on leftover scraps from the denim industry to produce at least 30% of the bills we use every day. But since Spandex and Lycra were introduced en masse to the production of denim, Crane has had to cut its ties with the jeans industry. Why? Because American money can’t be that stretchy.
“Even a single fiber of spandex can ruin a batch of currency paper, degrading the strength of the material,” the Washington Post reports. “There’s no denim products out there that we can find that’s basically not contaminated,” Crane’s managing director of global sourcing, Jerry Rudd, told the Post.
The solution: instead of sourcing the cotton used in American money from the denim industry, Crane goes straight to the source, using pure cotton straight off the plant. So, while skinny jeans are a welcome addition to our wardrobes, they’ve kind of wreaked havoc on the production of American paper money. So interesting!