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Nostalgia Box: Levi’s

The myth of blue jeans

By Gigliola Franciosi

“I'm like any other woman: a wardrobe full of clothes, but nothing to wear, so I wear jeans” (Cameron Diaz).

Who has been in the same situation as Cameron Diaz, raise the hand!

 
 
 
 
 
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Un post condiviso da Cameron Diaz Fans (@cameron_diaz_p)

A last-minute appointment, a get-together with friends, a birthday party: we always find ourselves wearing a pair of denim. There are many different models in our wardrobes, but the jeans by definition are them: the Levi’s.

 
 
 
 
 
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Un post condiviso da Levi's® Italia (@levis_ita)

The story is a long one, starting with the dream of a German boy named Löb Strauß and ending in America. Obviously, it was not easy for Löb to find himself in a foreign land without even knowing the language. So, having come from Germany in the mid-19th century, he spent a few years in Kentucky with an uncle to learn English.

The American influence was so strong that Löb changed his name to make it more understandable to his new compatriots. He becomes Levi Strauss!

The gold rush directs people to California and even Levi, in his new role, leaves to San Francisco to start selling work fabrics to pioneers, sailors and all those seeking their fortune.

Clothes often came undone due to heavy work, but Levi had his own solution ready, imported from Europe: a very resistant fabric produced both in France (the so-called Nimes textile) and in Italy. The Jeans were born, although their original name was waist overalls.

Thanks to Jacob Davis, a tailor who had found a way to fix the pockets to the trousers, which were prone to fraying because of the heavy tools the pioneers put in them, on 20 May 1873, Levi Strauss & Co. was officially established.

Indigo was the color of choice for the function of our jeans, as it hid dirt well. This may explain much of its popularity to this day, although some may turn their noses up at it!

 
 
 
 
 
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Un post condiviso da Levi's® Italia (@levis_ita)

At the beginning of the 20th century, the first forms of competition appeared, but Levi's did not give up and launched an innovative garment: Lady Levi's, the first jeans in the world designed specifically for women.

It was a turning point for women, who at that time mainly wore skirts, and the idea of being on a par with men for a change did not go unnoticed, in fact the model made the cover of Vogue!

The popularity of this item grew in the 1950s when jeans not only served as work trousers but, thanks to Marlon Brando, star of the 1953 film The Wild One, they were cool.

 
 
 
 
 
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Un post condiviso da Marlon Brando Estate™ (@marlonbrando).

Denim gained a new and rebellious allure, and young people were excited to buy them.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Levi's mania broke out: jeans became the uniform of a generation.

 
 
 
 
 
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Un post condiviso da Marlon Brando Estate™ (@marlonbrando)

Not to be outdone was the help of sex symbol Nick Kamen, who used to wash his 501s in his underwear and make the history of advertising (as well as making millions of women's heart-shaped eyes). So sales went through the roof.

Rockers, hippies, punks, rappers and many others have embraced jeans, until today with the new Millenials.

Certainly the vision of Levi's has changed, collaborations with other brands and new items were born, which adapted to the fashion of the time.

 
 
 
 
 
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Un post condiviso da Levi's (@levis)

 
 
 
 
 
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Un post condiviso da Levi's (@levis)

For true denim experts, however, it is the lived-in quality of their jeans that is important: they may or may not like it, but the secret is never to wash them!

 
 
 
 
 
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Un post condiviso da Levi's® Italia (@levis_ita)