Through the many eras and styles of the last century and a half, there has been one constant: the Levi’s® 501®. Straight leg, button fly — it’s the iconic blue jean embraced by everyone from factory workers, to movie stars, to computer programmers, to Presidents, to some of the most prominent voices in the movement space…and on May 20th, we’re celebrating the 148th birthday of the original blue jean. The grandfather of all blue jeans, any jean today is an iteration of this original. To commemorate the occasion, we’re highlighting the styles and stories of seven youn Originals — Naomi Osaka, Hailey Bieber, Emma Chamberlain, Barbie Ferreira, Jaden Smith, Marcus Rashford MBE, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander — as well as their favorite ways to wear their Levi’s® 501®s.
A perfect canvas for creative expression, the 501® has been a staple of youthful style since the mid-twentieth century. From Marlon Brando in 1953’s The Wild One, to the well-worn Summer of Love style during the late 1960s, to 1970s punk, to the dark indigo, oversized look of NWA in the late ‘80s, the 501® has long been the go-to for cool kids. And much of that comes down to the 501®’s classic simplicity. Dressed up or dressed down, worn fitted or oversized, dark or faded, straightforward or customized, it’s the heart and soul of not only Levi’s® but of modern fashion. A humble work pant made from durable denim with a silhouette that can be worn by many.
“The 501® is the original blue jean so it made sense to celebrate our icon with this cast of ORIGINALS. We are inspired by the emotional connection they each have with the 501® – their personal styles & stories make the jean so uniquely their own.” — Karen Riley-Grant, Levi’s® Chief Marketing Officer
Of course, the story of the Levi’s® 501® is not just about enduring style. It’s also about sustainability. It’s a throwback to the days when things were built to last, swimming against the tide of today’s disposable fashion. Levi’s® 501®s are not only highly durable, but they also look better with age, meaning you’ll hold onto them for longer. And, thanks to Levi’s® Tailor Shop, 501® jeans can also be repaired, giving them an even longer lifespan. Plus, with Levi’s® Water<Less, the modern 501®is finished using up to 96% less water than in typical denim finishing, making them a much more sustainable denim option. Even better, with Levi’s® SecondHand, you can avoid the waste and water usage of buying new altogether, and instead go for a much-coveted pair of vintage 501®s.
To celebrate this icon’s birthday, Levi’s® is releasing three special new 501® collections as part of Levi’s® 501® Day 2021. First up is an offering of Levi’s® 501® jeans and jean shorts from the new Levi’s® Originals campaign. Available in a range of fits and washes, it’s the perfect blend of Levi’s® 501® nostalgia and modern style. Next up is a limited edition collaboration between Levi’s® and Wasted Youth, the popular streetwear brand by Japanese designer Verdy. This collection features a 501®-pair run of black rinse, selvedge Levi’s® 501® ’93 jeans, each with a special Wasted Youth back patch and embroidery on the pockets and the seams. And finally, there’s the Levi’s® Vintage Clothing 1955 “Japan” 501®, a classic Shrink-to-Fit 1955-style 501® jean in Japanese selvedge denim, with tags and sundries printed in Japanese. These too will be available in a limited run of 501® pairs.
With the Levi’s® 501®, no two pairs are the same, and that makes it a true original. And it’s why, for Levi’s® 501® Day 2021, we’re shining a spotlight on a new generation of Levi’s® Originals. Seven original voices who know how to effortlessly blend style, creativity, authenticity, and purpose. Each one demonstrates a modern expression of what has made the Levi’s® 501® a cultural icon since the days of Marlon Brando.