Vintage Levi’s Jeans stories

The Museum of Modern Art in New York has a new course called Fashion as Design. With this new course they explore a selection of garments from around the world. For their latest course they used Levi’s Jeans. In the video you get an insight into the Levi’s Jeans – San Francisco archives where the world’s best collection of vintage Levi’s Jeans are kept, including the oldest pair of blue jeans in the world, a pair of 501’s. In the video Levi’s Jeans historian, Tracey Panek, shows three interesting stories behind three very rare an old pairs of Levi’s Jeans.

The first pair is a very old and rare one, it dates back to Levi’s when they were in business for only 17 years. This particular jeans was found by a women called Barbara during the ’40’s. When she was a teenager she was with friends on a Holiday trip and they went into an old closed mine. They went inside because they were in a kind of rebel mood. Inside the mine she explored an open room where she saw a pile of old Levi’s Jeans. She decided to pick the best one of the pile and took this one with her home. She repaired the jeans and wore it for a couple of years. When she noticed the ’17 years in business stamp’ on the inside pocket, she decided to call Levi’s as she knew this was a very special and old pair of jeans.

The second story is about a guy who helped a friend who stranded with car troubles. He had only a rope and a pair of Levi’s 501 to help his friend out. The pair he used dates back to the 1920’s when Levi’s Jeans had a cinch back on the jeans and also belt loops.

The third story is about a WW2 pair from 1944. This pair was found in a mining area near Colorado. The jean is probably used by a blacksmith as it has heavy contrasted fadings on the front and the back. This is probably because the owner was wearing something over the jeans to protect him.

Watch the video here below to see the vintage pairs of Levi’s Jeans and hear the total stories. &

Written by Wouter Munnichs
I'm the founder of Long John. Next to running this daily magazine, I'm working as a freelance denim specialist for the industry. Titled as 'Denim Influencer 2020' by Rivet 50. Celebrated my 10th anniversary with Long John in 2021.