Levi’s celebrates the 150th anniversary of its iconic 501 jeans with ‘The Greatest Story Ever Worn’ campaign
In fashion, a piece of clothing or accessory can sometimes be an ultimate status symbol. Think of the highly-coveted Birkin bag, a diamond piece from Tiffany’s, or a pair of pumps with red soles from Christian Louboutin. These pieces are easily recognizable with just one glimpse and, usually, we also see a distinct vision of who wears them. But when it comes to democratic clothing, one that transcends social status, age, and gender, a perfect example of this is the humble pair of denim jeans. And when we talk about it, it is hard not to add to the discussion the brand that started our obsession with it—Levi Strauss & Co.
Crafted in 1873, Levi’s 501 jeans were first made for American workers and eventually set the golden standard for what denim jeans should be. While they have sported different styles since their inception—different wash, lengths, and metal works—the 501 jeans are still among the best blank canvases in fashion that fit different kinds of wearers.
As it celebrates the 150th anniversary of the 501 jeans, Levi’s gathers people’s life moments together with its champion piece, proving that there is no occasion one can’t wear its signature creation. This year, the brand launches its year-long celebration, “The Greatest Story Ever Worn” campaign. Part of the campaign is the release of three short films directed by Martin de Thurah and Melina Matsoukas, exploring “the 501 jeans’ incredible past and its role in countless historical, cultural, and personal moments in order to inspire a new generation to write the next chapter.”
The first film, “Precious Cargo,” centers on how the 501 jeans made their way to Kingston, Jamaica in the 1970s and how Jamaica turned and made them uniquely their own. “Fair Exchange” is a “Jack and the Beanstalk”-ish story where a son swapped a beloved family bellcow for a pair of 501 Jeans. Lastly, “Legends Never Die” chronicles the story of one devoted Levi’s wearer who requested to be buried in his 501 jeans.
“Few products, let alone pieces of clothing, have been as consistently present for so many human experiences, for as long as the 501,” Chris Jackman, VP of brand marketing for Levi’s, says. “Coming from the humblest of beginnings as workwear pants, Levi’s 501 jeans have become a blank canvas for self-expression that transcends the boundaries of culture, and class. This is an incredible moment and milestone for the Levi’s brand, and through ‘The Greatest Story Ever Worn’ campaign, we aim to celebrate the legacy of the 501, its unrivaled breadth and global relevance, and to inspire the next chapters.”
Locally, Filipino 501 jeans lovers will get to see the beloved pants hit the shelves again. Levi’s is re-releasing its classic 1954 501 fit for men and 1981 501 for women, as well as a whole new range of finishes for both the 501 Original and the 501 ’93. The brand also tapped Filipino model and beauty queen Maureen Wroblewitz to be part of its local campaign.
“501 jeans are such timeless, classic pieces. They have been around for 150 years and people want to be part of that heritage,” Kat Costas, marketing head for Levi's Philippines, tells Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. “They are really meant to be a blank canvas for wearers to express themselves. When you get a pair of 501 jeans, we want you to make them your own—distress them, do patchwork, rip them. There’s a lot of things you can do with them.”
To know more about Levi’s 150th-anniversary celebration of the 501 jeans, visit @levis_sea on Instagram.
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