JD Official | May 20, 2021

Levi’s 501 Day: The History of a Classic

Bringin’ signature denim style for over 150 years, Levi’s have taken their legendary cuts to the next level as trends have changed throughout the decades. Their hallmark jeans, the 501 Original, are a timeless classic of any wardrobe rotation, and on May 20th we celebrate their invention.

It’s 501 Day, and we’re looking back at the history of the most iconic jeans ever released with Marcus Rashford, Hailey Bieber, Jaden Smith and Barbie Ferreira.

The Birth of an Icon

Patented back in 1873, the 501 jeans, originally called ‘waist overalls’ began as a durable pair of work pants for a tough day down the mines. They had a completely different design built for purpose with a single back pocket, a watch pocket, a cinch, suspender buttons and a rivet in the crotch.

13 years later, the Two Horse brand leather patch is first used on the overalls as a sign of the strength of the denim.

By 1890, the patent goes to the public domain leaving Levi’s to assign lot numbers to their pants, with the number 501 assigned to their original design.

The 501s Evolve

The infamous red Tab is first placed on to the back pocket of overalls in 1936. The Tab is used to differentiate Levi’s jeans to any other overalls on the market as competitors were using the same stitching.

The post-war version of the pants brings a whole new look as it removes the cinch completely and the Arcuate stitching is now done by a double-needle machine to make each pair of jeans uniform – opposed to the previous unique look of each pair when done by hand.

In 1960, Levi’s 501s are finally called jeans as the brand crosses over into pop culture to be worn as casual-wear and not blue-collar workwear. The 501 Original jeans for women are released 20 years later to adapt to their rising demand in popularity.

The Modern Jeans We Love

Now an essential of your everyday looks, the 501 Originals are worn in endless style combos. Dress them up with a button-down shirt or down with a classic crew-neck tee.

Coming in a range of cuts from skinny to loose-fit and studded to distressed, as well as a host of colourways from light wash to black.

Why not celebrate the 501 Day yourself? Check our collection of Levi’s 501 jeans right here.

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