Everyone’s favourite jeans, Levi’s are the iconic denim dress and are world renowned for their hardwearing quality and unfailing style. What few people are probably aware of is that the current brand we all know and love actually pioneered jeans themselves, the tale of the trousers beginning some 140 years ago.
The guy behind the garment, Levi Strauss was born in Bavaria on February 26th in 1829. Misfortune found the man early on with his father dying of tuberculosis in 1846, which resulted in Levi and his sisters emigrating to New York to work in their brothers dry goods business, at the time called ‘J. Strauss Brother & Co.’
In 1853 after several years working with his siblings, Levi heard news of the California Gold Rush and made his way to San Francisco to find his fortune; and it would come, only not through gold as he expected. He opened another dry goods business, acting as the West Coast representative of his brothers original firm back in New York selling boots, clothes and other goods.
During this period one of Levi’s customers was Jacob Davis, a tailor from Nevada who expressed to Levi in a letter how he had been making hardwearing trousers for his customers through the use of rivets at weak seams or points of strain. The trousers were a hit and Davis desired to patent the idea, reaching out to Levi who provided the material for his original creations for help.
The two got together, and in May of 1873 the patent was granted and the jeans we all know, love, and wear today were born. Whilst denim trousers had existed prior, they were workwear of the most simple design. The new, official ‘blue jean’ of 1873 marked the beginning of jeans as we know it as not only workwear, but durable, lasting, casual fashion that would soon become a worldwide fashion staple.
Written by Aaron Thompson