One of America’s most celebrated garments is turning 150. To celebrate the momentous occasion, Levi’s has enlisted the talents of Kid Cudi, Tremaine Emory, Mike D, Nathan Westling, Gia Seo, Gabriella Karefa-Johnson and Staz Lindes.
To celebrate the past, present and future of this globally beloved iconic – and to help launch its latest iteration, the 501 ‘90s – Levi’s has partnered with seven visionaries whose stories perfectly embody the spirit of the Original 501 and who each possess a unique perspective that embraces the change needed to inspire growth and personal evolution.
Featured in the campaign – and showing off the versatile style of the Original 501 and the 501 ‘90s – is hip-hop innovator, actor, and producer Kid Cudi; artist, designer, and cultural arbiter Tremaine Emory; sonic innovator and founding member of legendary Beastie Boys’ Mike D; fashion icon Nathan Westling; model, creative director, and style innovator Gia Seo; stylist, sartorial taste-maker, and first Black woman to style a Vogue magazine cover Gabriella Karefa-Johnson; and model, musician, and member of the punk band The Paranoyds, Staz Lindes.
“The Original 501 is a true icon and has been for almost 150 years. It’s a foundational piece in everyone’s closet and the perfect blank canvas for individual style and self-expression. For this campaign, we proudly teamed up with seven trailblazers who are famous for pushing boundaries and living authentic lives fueled by creativity and originality. They embody the aspirational spirit that the Levi’s 501 is famous for.” – Karen Riley-Grant, Chief Marketing Officer, Levi Strauss & Co.
In May of 1873, Levi Strauss & Co. was officially granted a patent for the copper rivets on their blue denim “waist overalls.” Though it wouldn’t acquire its famous lot number for another few years, the Levi’s 501, and the blueprint for the denim blue jean, was officially born. What began as a piece of highly durable workwear, by the middle of the 20th century, would become one of the most iconic pieces of clothing ever made.
A badge of youthful rebellion, a staple of casual style, a canvas for creative self-expression – the Original 501 jean is all things to all people. But most of all, it is a catalyst that changed how we think about clothes. It helped us understand that a single item could be the launchpad for a person’s signature style. Whether worn painted and customised, ‘80s-style faded and slim, ripped-up and baggy a la ‘90s grunge, or “borrowed” dad-style, the Levi’s 501 transcends trends and has long signified effortless cool across generations.
“With denim, nostalgia can be a source of both comfort and style. Having that favourite worn-in pair of jeans from the past is what we aim to capture with the new 501 ‘90s jean–it taps into that vintage look & feel, but it’s been made fresh and modern for today. It’s inspired by the way people were wearing our 501s in the late ‘90s. A bit more relaxed, midrise, with just the right amount of bagginess in the leg – easy, effortless and cool.” – Karyn Hillman, Chief Product Officer, Levi Strauss & Co.
Since 1873, the Levi’s 501® has never gone out of style. And it never will.
The ‘501: The Number That Changed Everything’ Campaign launches on Tuesday 1 February 2022.