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History of the 501®: Res Ipsa X Vintage Levi's

History of the 501®: Res Ipsa X Vintage Levi's

From Presidents to rock stars to laborers alike, they're an American classic. Their story has survived almost 150 years. Their look grew up in the West and fashioned the world over. Worn by the biggest stars, misfits, outlaws and pioneers and weathered on a path of rebellion and solidarity. Here's a brief history of the simply designed jeans that have stood through the test of time. 

Res Ipsa X Levi's 501's ®

Res Ipsa x Vintage Levi's 501
Aspen, CO -- Our Aspen flagship store carries one of our newest products: a selection of custom-distressed vintage Levi's 501s. We sourced vintage 501s in need of refurbishment, and patched them up with vintage textiles ranging from old quilts to West African fabrics.  We like the way upcycling old materials creates something fresh and exciting. Res Ipsa x Levi's adds an international flare to the classic American style. Shop the look in Aspen!

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Photo c/o Levi Strauss & CO.

1873 - Birth of the Blue Jean
"Levi Strauss & Jacob Davis are granted a patent on the process of riveting pants by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on May 20. It is patent number 139,121 and this is the invention of the blue jean."

c 1901 - Birth of Pockets
" The pants – now just called “overalls” - now have two back pockets. It’s likely we added this additional pocket due to consumer requests or changes in men’s fashions at the time."

Photo c/o Levi Strauss
 
1922 - Belt Loop Gang
"Belt loops are added to the overalls, but the suspender buttons are still retained. The cinch is also still used on the pants, but some men cut if off in order to wear the overalls with a belt. Again, the addition of belt loops was in response to changes in men’s fashions and our understanding of what consumers wanted."
 

Photo c/o Levi Strauss & Co
 1936 - Knock-Offs Not Welcome
"The red Tab is first placed onto the right back pocket of the overalls. The word “Levi’s ® is stitched in white in all capital letters on one side only. The Tab is created to differentiate Levi’s® overalls from the many competitors in the marketplace who were using dark denim and an Arcuate stitch. We had not yet trademarked the Arcuate so other companies were using it in direct imitation of us."

1960 - "JEANS" 
"The word “overalls” is replaced by the word “jeans” in advertising and on packaging. We had made other products in the past which we called “jeans” (specifically, denim pants for boys in the 1930s) but our top of the line “overalls” – 501® jeans – did not get this name until teenagers began calling the product “jeans” in the 1950s. No one really knows why the word became associated with the men’s overalls, but teenagers adopted the phrase and it became the term used by all manufacturers."

1966 - TV Time
"The first television commercial for Levi’s ® jeans is aired."

1981 - Who Runs the World?
"501 ® jeans for women are introduced, with the airing of the famous “Travis” television commercial."

STARS IN 501's ®


Marlon Brando sporting his 1947's 501® jeans in the movie 'The Wild One'. 

James Dean in Levis
Rebel without a cause and fashion icon James Dean in Levi's 501 ®.

Photo c/o Levi Strauss
Marilyn Monroe rocking some Levi's 501's® in 'River of No Return'. 

Marilyn Monroe
In 1961 Marilyn Monroe filled out a pair of 501s ®  in 'The Misfits', worn on film with a denim Lee Storm rider jacket and tousled pigtails.

Star Wars
Jedi hero Luke Skywalker played by Mark Hamill actually wore just a pair of a bleached Levi's 501 ® jeans for his role in 'Star Wars'. 

Photo c/o Rex
Born in the USA --- Bruce Springsteen rocked Levi's 501 ® jeans on his tour in July 1985 at Wembley. 

Photo c/o Rex
Former President Barack Obama rocking baggy Levi's 501 ® in 2009. '44' threw out the first pitch in supreme style. 

Steve Jobs in Levi's
Steve Jobs sported and perfected this signature look which included Levi's 501
® jeans.

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