Faithfully capturing the spirit and heritage of American work wear, Levi’s® Vintage Clothing reproduces the fits, fabrics and details of bygone eras.
Through our seasonal collections, iconic reissues and special editions, we relive our treasured history and offer timeless products to discerning connoisseurs that are as obsessed with it as we are.
1890 was the first year the 501® lot number was adopted. Levi Strauss & Co.’s patent for riveted clothes expired the same year, so other companies could now also use rivets on clothing. To address this, LS&Co. printed the inside pocket bag with info about the strength of their original XX overalls.
In 1915, Levi Strauss & Co. approached Cone® Denim, and a historic agreement was struck which granted Cone® the exclusive right to manufacture Levi’s® proprietary Shrink-to-Fit™ denim for all Levi’s® 501® Jeans.
In compliance with President Roosevelt’s National Recovery Act, Levi’s® introduced a small white cloth label printed with a blue eagle and the letters “NRA” to show the company abided by labor rules during The Great Depression.
During World War II, the US government informed clothing manufacturers they had to remove a certain amount of metal, fabric and thread from their garments to conserve materials for the war effort.
The 1944 501® was made from 12 oz Cone Mills red selvedge denim. It featured concealed back pocket rivets, a big “E” red tab, a Two Horse leather patch, painted arcuate, miscellaneous pocket bag fabric and laurel leaf unbranded buttons and rivets.
When WWII ended and raw materials were available again, Levi Strauss & Co. leaped back into heavy production to meet the growing postwar demand. Slimmer fitting with pared down details, this was a jean that was ready for the changing times.
In the '50s, Levi Strauss & Co. started selling 501® Jeans on America’s East Coast. Western states had been the primary sales territory since 1873. Many East Coast folks had become familiar with the jeans while visiting dude ranches, but for some this was their first encounter with Levi’s® jeans.
In order to make potential consumers comfortable with the company’s products, LS&Co. introduced a zip version of the button fly Shrink-To-Fit™ jeans in 1954: the 501® Z.
The 1955 501® Jeans have a quintessential 1950s shape, with more “anti-fit” in the seat, a slightly fuller cut around the leg and a boxier silhouette.
In ’67, the youth of America flocked to San Francisco, revolution, rock and roll, and flowers in their hair. Bus loads of them arrived in their 1966 Levi’s® 501® jeans.