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Levi’s celebrates 150 with 501

“BLUE jeans are the most beautiful things since the gondola,” once declared legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland. This year, the world celebrates the 150th anniversary of the invention of Levi’s blue jeans (based on the 1873 original patent filed by Jacob W. Davis and Levi Strauss).

During a press preview on Feb. 2 in Makati, Levi’s Philippines showed off new collections, as well as three short films that show the cultural impact of Levi’s.

Precious Cargo tells the story of how local fishermen brought Levi’s to Kingston, Jamaica in the 1970’s. This film was directed by Melina Matsoukas and shot by Academy Award-nominated cinematographer Bradford Young. The second film, Fair Exchange is about a beloved family cow and the son who swapped the beast for a pair of Levi’s, much to his family’s dismay. This was directed by Martin de Thurah and shot by cinematographer Kasper Tuxen. The third film, Legends Never Die, tells the story of one devoted Levi’s wearer who requested to be buried in his jeans. This specific fan asked all funeral attendees to wear their Levi’s jeans too.

Levi’s adds more choices for 501’s (its flagship product), if one should choose to be buried in the same way. The brand announced the launch of the Levi’s 501 81 and 54. The 81 takes its name from the year when Levi’s first released 501’s specifically for women (1981). It sits higher on the waist with a higher rise and features a slightly tapered leg as a nod to the ‘80s. The 54 is a tribute to the fit of an archival jean design from 1954 (think 1955’s Rebel Without a Cause). These feature a higher rise with a slimmer, slightly tapered leg. This year will also see the relaunch of SilverTab, a line released in the ‘90s to cater to Gen Z nostalgia and a preference for baggier fits.

Kat Costas, Marketing Lead for Levi’s Philippines, also announced a two-day event on May 20 (commemorating the day Levi’s received its first patent for their jeans) that will feature denim customization, and performances from bands.

“The 501 was made to be a blank canvas of self-expression, as expansive as the many people who have been wearing them. It’s actually an everyday uniform shared by millions,” she said. “That’s the story we want to tell.” — JLG

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