Once upon a time… an American success story, that stars and stripes dream that has raised an entire nation with the knowledge that… you can do it, if you believe it. The story of those who, with a transversal look, caught a need of the times that were running – something not obvious, but necessary – and turned it into a winning business example, very difficult to compare with other realities in the sector.
It was the time of the Gold Rush in America and, while everyone was focused on how much precious material to grab, a young merchant of Jewish origin, Levi Strauss, arrived in California with the firm intention of establishing himself in the trade of fabrics for heavy industry (bags, sheets, sails and similar). Thus in 1853 Levi Strauss & Co. was born, a modest trading company, which in a few years, thanks to a brilliant intuition of Levi, began offering work clothes for miners and sailors obtained from those same heavy fabrics that they first covered wagons and the loads of goods on the ships with. Fabrics like “jeans“, cotton from the city of Genoa, and “denim“, a canvas from Nîmes, France.
Rivets and cowboy hats, a USA signature.
The first turning point in production came with the patent of overalls, an incredible and simple intuition that revolutionized the world of workwear, combining a pair of trousers, an apron and a top in a single garment. After a while, the acquisition of the rivets as reinforcement to the pockets certified the superior level of the productions by Levi’s: the garments, even if under stress, didn’t break and remained firm thanks to the rivets, the life of the products became longer and the price could go up. And It did so, as did Levi’s profit: within a hundred years, the company went from ten employees to more than twenty thousand.
The production, once proudly Made in USA, moved to Asia during the second half of the last century, for reasons of labor costs; the garments made in San Francisco and in the other historical factories of the New World are now the object of unbridled collecting, with mind-boggling prices for labeled products, which are over seventy years old.
A Levi’s archivist examines a pair of jeans from a Californian miner from the end of 1800s.
Levi’s is a symbol of globalization: in over a hundred and fifty years of history, the American brand has reached every corner of the planet, from American mines to the tropical forests of South East Asia, becoming an integral part of the local culture, regardless of race or social background.
Being so free from scheme and democratic, Levi’s jeans lends itself to many interpretations and evolutions: from the most technical lines studied for commuters, with anti-sweat materials and reflective details, to capsule collections signed by internationally renowned artists, produced in so limited quantities that they are even displayed in the most famous museums. This is the case of Damien Hirst, with his multicolor collection or niche brands such as Comme Des Garcons or Stussy – there really is something for everyone.
Another winning feature is the cuts: the range of models varies, and includes wide leg straight fit, like the 501, with a close-fitting leg, like the 510, or more modern and slim fit, for example the 511. The beauty, as always, is experimenting: size up or size down can be very different on the shapes of your body and the most important thing is to always feel at ease – from the skinny fit on men or tomboy fit on women, when the occasion allows it!
The American brand is famous for irreverent advertisements … as above!
Today, Levi’s is a world power of denim, an international giant spread over more than one hundred and fifty countries: the weight of this fame is considerable, and the responsibilities deriving from it are equally significant. The brand (no longer made in USA) is actively engaged in reducing waste and pollution caused by toxic production processes, applying new finishing and dyeing techniques that aim at eliminating negative environmental impacts: organic or recycled cottons, non-toxic chemicals, laser finishes and much more – all to make our planet a little less polluted.
In addition to environmental commitment, Levi’s is an ambassador of workers’ rights in developing countries, adhering to international programs to protect employees from overly oppressive working conditions, and is also a bulwark of LGBT communities, with social (and corporate) inclusion programs, also sponsoring several Pride Runways around the planet.
Love a guy/girl in Levi’s.