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Levi’s® Vintage Clothing

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Spring/Summer 2023

BIRTH OF THE BLUE JEAN

The greatest story ever worn? It all began with a letter starting, “Dear Levi Strauss...” Our new collection celebrated the historic collaboration between Levi Strauss & Co. and tailor Jacob Davis—and the 150th anniversary of their legendary patent: No. 139,121: for “an improvement in Fastening Pocket Openings.” Translation? Rivets. And the blueprint for every pair of jeans worn and loved ever since.

In the late 1800s, farms, ranches, railroads and gold mines were popping up all over the American West. Men needed tough clothing like they needed a hot bath. Unfortunately, their work pants often split at the seams. Jacob Davis—a tailor in Reno, Nevada—had the idea of placing rivets at these points of strain. He reached out to his fabric supplier Levi Strauss in San Francisco, suggesting a patent partnership.

On May 20th, 1873, Levi Strauss & Co and Jacob Davis secured their patent, and the riveted blue jeans was born. Thanks to the near-indestructibility of these reinforced pants, Levi’s® became the clothing of choice for the hardworking men of the American West. The rest? Well, it’s history.

Our collection features Stitch-For-Stitch reproductions of some of the earliest garments in Levi’s® Archives—including the 1870s Duck Waist Overalls, newly discovered to date pre-1875. “THIS PAIR OF OVERALLS HAS NO BRANDING ON THE RIVETS OR BUTTONS, AND NO ARCUATE. IT’S CERTAINLY ONE OF THE OLDEST PIECES IN OUR ARCHIVE.”
— PAUL O’NEILL, DESIGN DIRECTOR, LEVI’S® VINTAGE CLOTHING