This week I found an amazing pair of new but Vintage Levi's here in Italy. It is the first pair of denim I own at age 51. It was the classic oversized red tab that stole my attachment. The oversized red buttons. It's why I deemed this week I was wearing Ferarri red Levi's.
The red tag is iconic.
Two days later I read a 19th-century pair, which was sold for a whopping $87,000 (£76,800). They were left abandoned in a mine in the American west. and covered in white wax from the Victorian miner's candles. Why would 23-year-old Kyle Haupert, a vintage trader from San Diego buy them?
“I'm still kind of bewildered, just surprised at myself for even purchasing them.”
My denim Levi's are turning heads on the streets of Italy. The chunky stitching and buck on the back are like no other Levi's I have ever seen. These jeans are a great example of personal style than a fashion statement.
Levi's Legacy Will Never Die
On the fashion front, I found them very boring. But Marilyn Monroe gave them sex appeal. James Dean wore them in a rebellious way.
The King of Rock, Elvis Presley set the trend by wearing the first black pair in the world. Rock legend Bruce Springsteen decided for the Born in the USA cover album to wear Levi's. For the political rebellion of the time, Mr. Tony Blair wore them many times at Number 10.
Why do people opt to have the 501s, 511s, 701s or Ribcage?
The iconic red tab, like the brown leather patch and button fly, are the few denim brands that command the claim, iconic.
This 150-year-old brand – was started by a Bavarian immigrant who sold his blue jeans to California's Gold Rush prospectors. No, matter what gender you are or age. Levi's is like Coke-Cola, we are all very familiar with wearing it. Like, Alexa Chung, Jeremy Clarkson, and Barack Obama. Just like Converse, this brand will always take fashion front row and in Netflix too.
Every year Levi's sells more than 1.25 billion pairs of blue jeans worldwide.
When Levi's re-released its classic 501 styles this year with a cropped ankle, Instagrammers (Levi's has eight million followers) went wild.
Mine are straight leg but because the denim is so heavy and thick. I can wear them any way I like.
Levi's retail at around £100, the Kick Flares (sadly discontinued) can be found but you have to hunt for it.
It's even more extraordinary given that, by 1999, Levi's was in distress. How did Levi's crawl back during the competition? When we saw Nick Kamen take off his Levi's in a launderette to Marvin Gaye's I Heard it through the Grapevine. This got everyone's attention for denim.
The Clash had their only UK number one with Should I Stay or Should I Go after it was featured in Levi's ad. In the early 1990s, these ads made us fall in love with the brand again.
US Students Were Banned From Wearing Blue Jeans
Denim messages were politically powerful throughout Hollywood. US students in the 1950s were banned from wearing blue jeans after a rebellious Marlon Brando sported 501s in The Wild One and made denim seem dangerous.
This is why Levi's responded by creating white jeans. This denim was the cult symbol of dissent among Soviet teens in the 1980s.
They have barely changed since. There have been tweaks to zip flies and boyfriend styles. Also collaborations with hot brands such as Ganni, Vetements and Comme des Garcons. The Kardashians wore Levi's on their 2017 Christmas card.
Kate Middleton joked in an interview that she only had one poster in her bedroom growing up:
“I had the Levi's guy on my wall, not a picture of William, sorry.”
Levi's has stayed true to what they are. The denim brand has bridges the gap between young and old throughout the years. No one judges you if you're wearing Levi's.
Why Invest In Vintage
It's why vintage ones have held their value.
Buy Better, Wear Longer” campaign last year.
In 2018, an 1893 pair sold for almost $100,000 to a buyer in Asia, while 1970s couples upcycled by the brand Re/Done retail for upwards of £600.
Levi's introduced their own slow fashion scheme in 2020 to buy back customers' used jeans, fix them up and resell them. The brand has started using organic and recyclable cotton.
Levi's is like Rome it will last forever. And like this week the right youth will pay more for Levi's than a basic Audi.
Can Levi's be preserved 7,200 feet under the surface of a miner's gravesite?