150 Years of the 501®


Campaigns and Collaborations
January 2023


This year, we celebrate a century and a half of the 501® Original (our first-ever blue jeans) and people living in Levi’s®. And in the world of 501® jeans, every person has a pair, and every pair has a story. What started with some denim, copper rivets and an American dream has become a worldwide phenom and, quite possibly, the most beloved clothing article of all time.

Our iconic five-pocket, button-fly straight fit has been loved by everyone: miners, cowboys, hippies, rockers, skaters, musicians, politicians, celebrities, unsung heroes and countless others on every kind of journey. And that’s led to a lifetime of *your* stories interwoven into the fabric of ours.

So, when it came time to throw our biggest, baddest anniversary bash ever, the first thing we did was find real people with a real love for 501® jeans and ask them all the same thing: “So...what’s your 501® story?”

“I feel like my 501®s are lucky because I met Queen Latifah in them. Can I say Queen Latifah? Is that like copyrighted? I met her in them and she smiled at me.”

—Mizan, retired ax-throwing instructor/ordained minister/jewelry maker/painter/poet/skater/all-around creative person who customizes 501® jeans and has the above gem of a tale.


“The first 501®s I got were in high school. I worked as a telemarketer and saved up my money to buy a pair. My job as a telemarketer didn’t last, but my 501®s did.”

—Marco, vintage clothing dealer/DJ whose Mexican dad used to travel across the U.S. border with a suitcase, fill it up with Levi’s®, then bring the jeans back to sell. Eventually, he moved to the States and started his family; so, Marco considers Levi’s® a part of his heritage.



Stories of one-of-a-kind DIYs, creative deconstructions and the natural wear and tear that leads to recrafted perfection.

“I stole my first 501®s from my brother, cut them to shorts and started distressing them like crazy. They [weren’t] my pair, so I just had fun with them.”

—Jay, model/entrepreneur who loves to experiment with new destruction and personalization techniques on his 501® jeans (Clorox®, nail clippers, etc.).



Stories of beloved family hand-me-downs, jackpot thrift finds and the occasional stolen, er, “borrowed” pair.

“The 501® to me is about versatility. I think it’s so popular ’cuz anybody can wear it and do anything they want with it, you know? Whatever mood you’re feeling, you can wear a 501®. I have a pair that my dad gave me from the ’70s, which is the decade that I enjoy the most.”

—Connor, actor/musician who prefers to wear his 501® jeans undersized or oversized.


“I always look for Levi’s® in thrift stores because they last through multiple people’s closets. The 501®s I’m wearing could’ve been worn by somebody’s grandpa. That’s really cool.”

—Anne, student/model/35-millimeter photographer who always rubs new pairs down with sandpaper so they immediately look lived-in. As a kid, she slept in Levi’s® (more time to lay in bed before school) and once skied in hand-me-down 501® jeans. (“They did really well!”)


“I feel the most like myself in the 501®. I thrifted my most meaningful pair for this best dressed competition at school and won. It was the first time I got acknowledged for style or was considered fashionable.”

—Wanda, fashion designer/creative consultant who (with the help of a friend) has thrifted over 450 pairs of 501® jeans!


Stories of never-worn-the-same style.

“When I started transitioning, I was really nervous about leaning into more masculine clothing. I loved the idea of stepping into jeans that were literally worn by a guy before, so a friend gave me his 501®s. I put them on and they were my exact size. That was my first time experiencing gender euphoria and understanding I was trans.

This began a much longer chapter of me figuring out what actually felt good, not just looked good, to wear. In 501®s, I had this safe space while I was trying to find clothes that felt fun and exciting and affirming.

That’s what I love about 501®s: they’re a staple for a lot of different types of folks to feel confident in. You kind of take the masculinity and femininity out of it when you have this super amazing, beautiful, clean fit. Regardless of gender, so many people out there are wearing the same jeans.”


“I feel sexy in my 501®s. Is that too much? ’Cause I do! I feel damn good.”

—Karl, musician who once bought 501® Original Shrink-to-Fit™ Jeans but didn’t realize you had to be *wearing them* when you soaked them in the tub. They ended up teeny-tiny; so, he bought another pair and got it right the second time.



Every day, more 501® chapters are being written and rewritten by characters old and new, from all four corners of the globe. There’s a reason 501® jeans have remained iconic through countless cultural revolutions and fashion cycles. Their legacy is living, with no end in sight—and plenty of space for your contribution.


Good jeans run in the 501® family; so, shop the entire 501® assortment online and in stores. For styling tips and outfit inspiration, follow us on Instagram and TikTok. Then tag @levis and #LiveinLevis to share your Levi’s® style with the world.