Last Friday, May 20th, to celebrate the 143rd birthday of the blue jean, Levi's® will screen the fourth and final episode of the documentary series on the 501® Jean -- "The 501® Jean: Stories of an Original”, celebrating the 501® and its place in cultural history.
The 501® jean began as a work pant but became synonymous with Western cowboy attire by the 1930s and 1940s. Soldiers wore the jeans with T-shirts during World War II. Later, actor Marlon Brando wore a pair of 501® blue jeans in movies like The Wild One—popularizing them as the quintessential uniform of the rebel. In the 1960s, teens embraced the 501® and soaring sales in America and abroad in the succeeding decades stimulated a global denim sensation. The cultural impact of the 501® jean was so significant that in 1964 a pair entered the Permanent Collections of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
The Levi’s® 501® button fly jean – the original and first ever blue jean – was born on May 20, 1873. And over 140 years later, it is more popular than ever before. In celebration of 100 years of partnership with Cone Mills Denim in North Carolina, the Levi’s® brand presents a short documentary film, The 501® Jean: Stories of an Original. The film explores the lasting impact the Original 501® jean has had on cultural history.
The final episode goes beyond America and explores the impact Levi’s® has made in Japanese fashion and how Japan’s culture has impacted the rest of the fashion world. Through interviews with street fashion experts and popular style figures, Levi’s® explores Japanese denim culture and history, suggesting that Japan may have taken its denim cues from American-wear but is now a rich tradition of its own.