Tuzex, jeans and queue

Until World War II jeans were from the beginning exclusively working clothes. Only then in the fifties and sixties they get out of ranches and mines to shops and city streets. And the massive enlargement will not miss the country beyond the Iron Curtain between West and East.

Author: Petr Beranek
Author: Petr Beranek

Jeans in Czechoslovakia

Jeans first appeared in Czechoslovakia as early as the 1950s. But they did not fit into the communist ideology at that time because represented Western capitalism. On the other hand, they made them feel rebellious in young people and those who had them were kings. Everyone wanted to wear them, especially the classic Levis 501. People who wanted to buy them had to stand a long queue in Tuxez and before getting enough “bony”. But it wasn’t quite “free” because these men’s and women’s trousers were definitely not cheap. One of them went up to half of the average salary at that time, several hundred Czechoslovak crowns. And the offer was not so varied. A few cuts, a few sizes, a few colors.

Reports of lack of jeans have spread in the news

“What do customers want most often?” Asks a shop assistant editor.
“Denim products.”

“Do you have enough of them?” Asks the editor.
“None at all,” says the saleswoman.

Production in Czechoslovakia

That was the reality of the day that we can smile or remember today. Czechoslovakia later woke up partially in the 1970s and decided to make jeans themselves instead of (un) importing ready-made pants from the West. These, of course, did not reach a dizzying quality and therefore the young even refused to wear them. Fortunately, licensed production of English jeans Lee Cooper started in 1981 in Prešov, Slovakia, which finally brought quality to Czechoslovakia. Thanks to Western know-how, the efficiency of work in the Slovak factory has increased significantly and the production of one pair of trousers has been reduced from 50 to 17 minutes! This at least partially managed to satisfy the demand of the unsaturated market and then it was not so far until 1989 and the opening of the market to foreign brands. And we know it.

And how do you remember that time?

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