Levi Strauss and Company tapped into the myth and glamour of a way of life in the American West. Levi's has a reputation for honesty, in addition to functionality and inexpensive cost.
The 501s were the essential jeans in America for many years before they became popular in Britain during the 1960s. Levi Strauss and Company is the world's largest clothing manufacture and 501 jeans are the highest selling item of branded clothing.
German immigrant Levi Strauss started the company in San Francisco in 1850. He worked with Jacob Davis to make pants that were more durable for miners. The jeans grew in popularity among working class Americans.
Denim is strong material and Levi uses strong stitching. The 501 jeans are made to look worn out to keep the myth of a hardworking life alive. Many of the design elements date back to 1873.
After World War II, Hollywood films helped sell 501 jeans to American teenagers. In the 1960s and 1970s, jeans became an unofficial uniform of rebellion and protest movements.
Demand for jeans and jackets grew internationally in the 1970s. Levi faced a wave of competitors and expanded into other products. In the 1980s, Levi re-established itself as a jean company and relaunched the 501 jeans.
Credits: Design Classics: Levi's 501 Jeans
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The final episode in this series features the Levi 501 jeans, tracing its early history and why today they still have such a cult following.
Length: 26 minutes
Copyright date: ©1987
Prices include public performance rights.
Not available to Home Video, Dealer and Publisher customers.
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