50 Things You Didn't Know About Levi's
Did Levi's really create "denim"? What does 501 mean? Here are all your answers.
Image via Complex Original
No matter how you categorize your style: #menswear, streetwear, street goth, rocker, skater, or your just as yourself, you've worn a pair of jeans and they were probably from Levi's. Denim has grown from something that was only worn by people in mines or who toiled with hard labor, to the epicenter of the fashion industry, and as everyone's favorite part of their wardrobe.
But how did Levi's rise to the monolothic stature that it now grasps? It has been a long road, but from its start at the San Francisco gold rush to being worn by movie stars that we've all admired, Levi's has established itself as the player in the denim world by offering a great product. Simple as that. It's been 140 years since the introduction of Levi's first 501 jean, so there's more than enough history you need to brush up on. Here are 50 Things You Didn't Know About Levi's. Check out this related Levi's video from Complex TV's original show "Cut & Show".
RELATED: 25 Things You Didn't Know About Ralph Lauren
RELATED: 40 Style Myths Explained
RELATED: Does it Matter if Your Clothes Are Made in America?
Levi Strauss is not from San Francisco, in fact, he was born in Germany.
Levi's, the original jean brand, didn't start off as a clothing manufacturer.
The first pants that Levi's produced were made from duck canvas.
The first pair of Levi's jeans weren't called jeans; they were "waist overalls."
Strauss himself did not invent the blue jeans, tailor Jacob Davis suggested they should rivet denim pants.
Levi's is credited with making the first pair of riveted jeans, not inventing denim.
The first production of Levi's jeans was milled in New Hampshire, not San Francisco.
Levi's has no clue what its stitched logo, the arcuate, means.
Levi's other most noted symbol, the Two Horse patch, didn't come about until 1886.
The "501" jean was invented in 1873, but wasn't dubbed with the name until 1890.
The 5 in front of Levi's products (501, 514, 511, etc.) indicates that the product is of the brand's highest quality.
The oldest existing pair of Levi's jeans is from 1879.
Levi's paid $46,532 for a pair of jeans that are from circa 1880.
The XX on a pair of Levi's was put to denote the strength of the denim.
Levi's Type 1, 2, and 3 trucker jackets actually have numbers that correspond with each garment.
Although known for its denim, Levi's also made khakis early as 1905.
Levi's didn't use denim from Cone Mills until 1915.
The first Levi's jeans to feature belt loops were introduced in 1922.
Spotted: John Wayne Wears Levi's 501s in "Stagecoach."
It wasn't until 1901 that Levi's made jeans with two back pockets.
The Red Tab wasn't placed on Levi's jeans until 1936.
Levi's didn't start selling women's jeans until 1934, before that they had to wear their "boyfriend's" jeans.
The 501's crotch rivet was removed because it would heat up around the campfire.
Levi's were worn by real cowboys, and when it got cold out on the plains at night, they'd warm up around the campfire. Except, when they got too close, their pants' crotch rivet would heat up and cause the ultimate discomfort. Levi's decided to drop the crotch rivet in 1941, from then on, cowboys no longer dealt with the "ring of fire."
Rivets and backpocket stitching were removed to comply with the WWII effort.
The Levi's 501 took its modern day shape in 1947.
Cary Grant once wrote this hilariously awesome letter in admiration of the brand's Western shirts.
Clint Eastwood wrote Levi's a letter, too.
Marlon Brando helped popularize the rebel image that would become associated with Levi's jeans.
Levi's created the "Canadian tuxedo" expressly for Bing Crosby after he was denied hotel service.
Levi's weren't sold on the East Coast until the 1950s.
Levi's first put zippers on its jeans to appease East Coasters who were confused by a button fly.
Levi's stopped putting a leather patch on its jeans because it became too expensive to compete with other brands.
In 1967, Jefferson Airplane remixed their hit single "White Rabbit" for a Levi's commercial.
Before Dr. Gonzo was asking Hunter S. Thomspon to drop a radio playing "White Rabbit" in a bathtub in Fear and Loathing and Las Vegas, Jefferson Airplane had already switched up the lyrics to the song for Levi's white jean campaign, "White Levi's."