You’ve heard the stories of our 501® Original Jean: how people wore it while tearing down the Berlin Wall, how renowned couture designers give it their highest praise, and even how presidents have worn it during their downtime. It’s our icon, and it has been for more than 145 years.
Every year, we celebrate the 501® Original by taking a look back at its history through a limited-edition collection that builds on our heritage.
“I think it’s amazing and a testament of the 501® Original’s fundamentally great design that it’s lasted so long.”
– Jonathan Cheung, Senior Vice President of Design
“Let’s wind ourselves back to 1873 and think about how a man or woman was dressed. Think of how many of those pieces carry over today,” says Jonathan Cheung, Senior Vice President of Design.
“I think it’s amazing and a testament of the 501® Original’s fundamentally great design that it’s lasted so long,” Cheung continues. “Part of it is because it’s such a practical item. The other part is that it’s become part of the social fabric of Levi’s®, defining a genre of clothing that can be worn every day, for everyone — girls, boys, young, old, rich, poor. I think that’s given it longevity and adaptability.”
Cue our 501® Day collection. To create pieces for this year’s collection, Cheung and his team dug deep into the archives, taking inspiration from a pair of deadstock 501® Original Jeans from 1947. The well-worn archival pair featured selvedge denim and oxidized buttons, both of which are mimicked on our new recreations.
Made in limited-edition proprietary selvedge, the denim pieces in this collection are wearable history: designed with our heritage at their roots, but made modern with today’s technology and craft.
We’ve also played with colors and our 501® name on the button-fly (inspired by our ‘90s ‘Button Your Fly’ tees), destructed the denim with custom-inspired rips and created perfect cut-offs for summer. It’s the pinnacle of our heritage done through a modern lens.
“We just want to be creative, have fun, try and keep playing with the 501® to make sure it’s still relevant”
“We just want to be creative, have fun, try and keep playing with the 501® to make sure it’s still relevant,” Cheung says. “It’s not a fixed piece, so I think it’s our duty to keep playing with it and keep tinkering. The secret, if 501® has a secret, is that it has adapted.”
Our 501® Day Collection is made in a limited run, but you can get in on the action here. (Pro tip: be quick.)
Check back for more about our upcoming collaborations and celebrations for this year’s 501® Day, and don’t forget to show us how you’re living in your new 501®s on Instagram with #501Day.