#Campaign  #Culture  #Vintage

Introducing the Levi’s® 501® Documentary


Levi’s® presents a four-part documentary film celebrating the 501® and its place in cultural history.

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. Kicking off globally on March 15th, 2016 the 501® documentary will be screened around the world with a launch on levi.com on March 16th, 2016, followed by a final unveiling of the final episode on May 20th, 2016.

The first three episodes are stories of modern America with the Levi’s® 501® at the center. Exploring the worlds of work, style and rebellion, the film features interviews with pioneers such as Henry Rollins, John Baldessari, Scott Schuman, Andy Spade, Mark McNairy, Erin Wasson, Gary Burden, Eddie Huang, Jim Walrod, Kim Hastreiter, Mel Ottenberg, Michael Polish, Steven Alan, Alexandra Richard, Greg Chapman, Lee Ranaldo, Rachael Wang, Josh Peskowitz and many more.

The fourth and latest 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. Japan took American streetwear and perfected it, creatively melding a range of influences, and Japan is now a street-style leader with it’s own distinct voice.


In the first episode of The 501® Jean: Stories of an Original, we trace the 501® Jean’s journey from a utilitarian garment for coal miners, cowboys, industrial workers, all the way to the creative workers who continue to wear it today.


For the first time Levi’s® are worn for their look, rather than function. With the cowboy films of the 1930s, everybody wanted a piece of the cowboy lifestyle. Hollywood stars adopt it for decades and the 501® becomes a style icon: continuing to inspire contemporary designers and style leaders.


The 501® is a symbol for countercultures and has been sewn into the fabric of America interpreted many ways over many years. The Rebels of the 1950s proudly wore the 501® jean – adopted from the laborers after the Great Depression – and made it a symbol of irreverence and solidarity. Worn by everyone from James Dean and Marlon Brando to Jack Kerouac and Jackson Pollock, the 501® jean became the emblem of youth and a symbol of rebellion. Rebels across the decades are united through outspokenness, individualism and their love of the 501®.


To continue the story established in The 501® Jean: Stories of an Original documentary, the fourth episode explores the denim culture Levi’s® generated beyond its homeland— a passion particular to Japan. This film tells the story of Levi’s® arrival in Japan in the 1950s, the vintage denim explosion that culminated in the 1990s, and how Japan’s own take on Americana is now globally influential.

The fourth episode features such personalities and icons as: Nigo® founder of BAPE, Shinsuke Takizawa founder of NEIGHBORHOOD, Erik Brunetti founder of FUCT, Verbal & Yoon, Co-founders of AMBUSH and Motofumi “Poggy” Kogi creative director of UNITED ARROWS & SONS and many more.