It all started when I was 6 and I got this pair of jeans. I hated them because none of the kids my age had jeans back then and I didn’t get what they suppose to stand for. I didn’t understand either when my father told me with the most serious tone of voice that ”these are Levi’s” and that I would regret not wearing them. And I did regret! Growing up I started to love the Levi’s jeans, not only because they are never out of style and because you have them forever, but also because they always fit and make you look at your best!
Levi Strauss & Co. is an American clothing company known worldwide for its Levi’s brand of denim jeans. It was founded in 1853 when Levi Strauss came from Buttenheim, Bavaria, to San Francisco, California to open a west coast branch of his brothers’ New York dry goods business. Jacob Davis, a Latvian Jewish immigrant, frequently purchased bolts of cloth made from denim from Levi Strauss & Co.’s wholesale house. After one of Davis’ customers kept purchasing cloth to reinforce torn pants, he had an idea to use copper rivets to reinforce the points of strain, such as on the pocket corners and at the base of the button fly. Davis did not have the required money to purchase a patent, so he wrote to Strauss suggesting that they go into business together. Levi accepted Jacob’s offer, on May 20, 1873 when they received U.S.Patent No.139,121. This date is now considered the official birthday of “blue jeans.” Contrary to an advertising campaign suggesting that Levi Strauss sold his first jeans to gold miners during the California Gold Rush(which peaked in 1849), the manufacturing of denim overalls only began in the 1870s. The company created their first pair of Levis 501 Jeans in the 1890s, a style that went on to become the world’s best selling item of clothing. Modern jeans began to appear in the 1920s. Between the 1950s and 1980s, Levi’s jeans became popular among a wide range of youth subcultures, including greasers, mods, rockers, and hippies. Levi’s popular shrink-to-fit 501s were sold in a unique sizing arrangement; the indicated size referred to the size of the jeans prior to shrinking, and the shrinkage was substantial. The company still produces these unshrunk, uniquely sized jeans, and they are still Levi’s number one selling product. From the early 1960s through the mid-1970s, Levi Strauss experienced significant growth in its business as the more casual look of the 1960s and 1970s ushered in the “blue jeans craze” and expanded the firm’s clothing line by adding new fashions and models, including stoned washed jeans.
Starting with the first television commercial, in 1966, Levi’s promoted itself through some iconic advertisements. In 1981, 501 jeans for women are introduced with the airing of the famous ‘Travis” television commercial. You can see below some of the iconic printed commercials that made history over the years.
In 1993, Levi Strauss & Co sponsors the ”Send Them Home Search”, a contest to find the oldest pair of Levi’s jeans in the United States. The winning pair dates the late 1920s.
This year we celebrate 141 years since the invention of blue jeans. Even if change is part of the evolution process we can never stop, some things should never change. I have no idea what the future of jeans might be, but if you look back you’ll notice that every change has its constant. My constant is Levi’s.