The Story of Levi's

It is an undoubted axiom that jeans are one of the fashion world's cult classic phenomena and the story of jeans can not be told without mentioning Levi's – the company that started the everlasting jeans trend. Everyone knows the classic 501 denim pants that marked the beginnings of this iconic garment and were followed by many different iterations as a response to the style of a particular decade. Levi's were not only the inventors of denim pants but during the 20th century, they pretty much shaped the blue jeans fashion and served as a symbol of emerging subcultures.



The story of Levi's began when Levi Strauss who was a dry goods seller in San Francisco partnered with Jacob Davis. The latter was a Reno-based tailor who regularly bought denim fabric from Strauss's shop and made durable work pants for miners, railroad workers, and other hard-working folks. In his line of work, Davis noticed, that clients were buying patches of denim fabric to reinforce pants that were torn at the specific points of strain. To tackle this issue, an excellent idea dawned on him that marked the beginning of jeans that we know today.


The idea involved pressing rivets at the strain points that made jeans much more durable. Such denim pants were able to take the beating of the heavy working environment and were an instant hit among his clients. Logically, the first thing that came to his mind, was to patent the new invention. Although the business seemed to go well, he still did not have enough free capital to buy a patent for the riveting technology. However, as he was a man of great ideas, he had one for this problem as well and he offered Levi Strauss to partner up in buying a patent. Levis agreed and in 1873 the first riveted work jeans called XX were patented.


Riveted jeans became instant hits among working-class Americans who were looking for trusted pants for their rugged working environment. Later XX jeans were modified and got their current name 501. After some design changes, by 1922 Levi's jeans got their classic looks with five pockets and belt loops. During the 20's the popularity of denim pants was still largely concentrated on the American east coast as pants of choice for the cowboys, lumberjacks, and railroad workers.


It all started to change in the 30s with the popularity of the bygone American frontier culture and its aesthetics among Americans and especially those from the East side. After their trips to the Western parts of their country, many brought back stories and goods among which was also denim pants. Another boost of popularity came with WWII when jeans were deemed an essential commodity and were sold only to people that were part of the defense industry. Denim was slowly but inevitably took its hold over the minds of the people.



The decades following right after WWII Levi's experienced the highest peak of their popularity. During the '50s, '60s, and 70's Levis and denim clothing as such was the symbol of counter-culture – beatniks, mods, hippies, and rockers. This was the time when denim pants and Levis as a brand became ingrained into Western culture. Denim is an example of clothing that transcends any trends and is still as relevant as before.


What about Levi's denim pants today? This year is promised to be big for classic Levi's jeans especially original American made. Don't miss your chance to get your hands on a pair of this fashion classic. In NorthernGrip we recently had a new shipment of Levi's pants so you can start your search here and find your perfect pairs of Levi's.