Celebrating The Original Blue Jean: Levi’s 501 Turns 148 Years Old

Candace Little

Lifestyle Writer

Aug 28, 2021

Since their invention by Levi Strauss & Co. in 1873, Levi’s jeans have become one of the most recognisable garments of clothing in the world. Today, the Levi’s brand portfolio continues to evolve through a relentless pioneering and innovative spirit with a range of leading jeans wear and accessories available in more than 110 countries. But there has been one constant in the product range: the Levi’s 501. This straight leg, button fly is the iconic blue jean embraced by everyone from factory workers, to movie stars, to computer programmers, to Presidents, to some of the most prominent voices in history.

On May 20th, Levi’s celebrated the 148th birthday of the original blue jean. To commemorate the occasion, Levi’s are highlighting the styles and stories of seven young Originals — Naomi Osaka, Hailey Bieber, Emma Chamberlain, Barbie Ferreira, Jaden Smith, Marcus Rashford MBE, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander — as well as their favourite ways to wear their Levi’s 501’s. The term ‘originals’ draws inspiration from the fact that no two pairs of Levi’s 501’s are the same, and that makes it a true original.

And that’s why they are shining a spotlight on a new generation of Levi’s Originals. Seven original voices who know how to effortlessly blend style, creativity, authenticity, and purpose. Each one demonstrates a modern expression of what has made the Levi’s 501 a cultural icon since the days of Marlon Brando.

In a press release, Levi’s Chief Marketing Officer Karen Riley-Grant, describes the 501 as a staple of youthful style since the mid-twentieth century and a perfect canvas for creative expression:

“The 501 is the original blue jean so it made sense to celebrate our icon with this cast of ORIGINALS. We are inspired by the emotional connection they each have with the 501 – their personal styles & stories that make the jean so uniquely their own”, says Karen Riley-Grant.

Levi's Naomi Osaka

It’s also about sustainability, a topic that can’t be spoken about enough in fashion right now. In a press release, Levi’s described the 501 as a throwback to the days when things were built to last, swimming against the tide of today’s disposable fashion. Levi’s 501’s are not only highly durable, but they also look better with age, meaning you’ll hold onto them for longer. Plus, with Levi’s Water<Less, the modern 501 is finished using up to 96% less water than in typical denim finishing, making them a much more sustainable denim option. An important detail for any sustainable consumer right now.


From Marlon Brando in 1953’s The Wild One, to the well-worn Summer of Love style during the late 1960s, to 1970s punk, to the dark indigo, oversized look of NWA in the late ‘80s, the 501 has long been the go-to for cool kids. And much of that comes down to the 501’s classic simplicity. Dressed up or dressed down, worn fitted or oversized, dark or faded, straightforward or customised, it’s the heart and soul of not only Levi’s but of modern fashion. A humble work pant made from durable denim with a silhouette that can be worn by many shapes and sizes.

Checkout the men’s styles here.

Checkout women’s styles here.


By Candace Little

Lifestyle Writer

Candace Little is an experienced journalist and writes for both The Carousel and Women Love Tech. Candace is the writer of the award-winning short film Every Other Weekend.


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