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Thursday February 7, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Saturday April 20, 2013 MYT 5:31:58 PM
by sandra low
LUCKY for us that he simply had a cool name back in the 1800s. And then, he met a tailor who ingeniously suggested that they work together to take out a patent on a new idea.
So today, jeans lovers the world over can fashionably say, “I’m wearing my pair of Levi’s” (pronounced “Leevise”).
It could have awkwardly been “my pair of Leonard’s”, and that, somehow wouldn’t do.
In 1853, Levi Strauss arrived in San Francisco and opened a wholesale dry goods business, selling clothing and blankets to small general stores throughout the American West.
Then, in 1872, Jacob Davis, a Reno Nevada tailor, wrote to Strauss, telling him about a process he invented to rivet the pocket corners of men’s pants to make them stronger. They both agreed to take out a patent together on their copper riveted waist overalls. In May 1873, Levi Strauss & Co and Jacob Davis were granted a patent on the process of riveting pants by the US Patent and Trademark Office. This marked the invention of the omnipresent blue jeans.
Adopting the traditional name for men’s workwear then, the pants were called “waist overalls”.
Why were rivets so important then? It was the 1800s and the waist overalls were the daily uniform for labourers of all kinds, notably worn by miners of the American West.
As these workmen set out for manual work, they needed a pair of pants with pockets strong enough to hold their heavy work tools.
The pocket is the only part of the clothing that is apt to be torn, so rivets played a crucial role in preventing the pockets from being ripped.
It is the brand’s rich history, attention to detail and constant innovation that has led its original Levi’s 501 jeans to be among the most well-known and worn pair of jeans today.
Levi’s has a “501” to its name as it refers to the lot numbers assigned to the manufactured, riveted products and this number is used to designate the copper-riveted waist overalls.
Interestingly, in today’s business world where company acquisitions are common, Strauss’ descendants are still running the company today.
To survive for over a century in a competitive clothing business, Levi’s 501 jeans constantly evolve and stay relevant for each generation, without losing its heritage.
This Spring/Summer 2013, the brand marks its 140th anniversary of the iconic Levi’s 501 jeans with an introduction of a non-denim collection.
This non-denim collection for men is available in four shades globally but locally, the colours available are true chino, chalk blue and mineral red.
The Spring/Summer 2013 collection includes basic T-shirts, short sleeve shirts, long sleeve shirts and trucker jackets.
At the launch in Kuala Lumpur, senior marketing executive for Levi’s, Jennifer Wong said that “it’s the craftsmanship of Levi’s 501 jeans that sets it apart from other brands.”
Turning a pair of Levi’s 501 inside out, Wong pointed out that the detailing from the reinforced stitching and belt loops, inseams, button holes, cuffs and rivets are features that make these jeans stand out, and she added that “the inside of the jeans is as well made as the outside.”
While women have their skinny jeans, men are also opting for a leaner shape, so the next generation of Levi’s 501 jeans and the non-denim pants offer men a slightly tighter silhouette.
To ensure that your pair of jeans is as updated as you, they’ve included a slightly larger pocket for you to store your smart phone.
Comfort is another feature they’ve improved, with a shallower yoke – which means a better fit from crotch to waist line, with lower rise at the back compared to the old fit.
This doesn’t mean it’s low rise though; it’s an updated version but not as high rise as the previous 501. So, the overall fit sits nicely on the waist and offers cleaner aesthetics.
> Levi’s 501 jeans and its new non-denim collection are available at Levi’s stores nationwide. Prices: Levi’s 501 jeans (RM299 to RM399), Levi’s 501 non-denim (RM299), Levi’s 501 Spring/Summer 2013 (RM69 to RM299).
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