Levi Jeans, Essay Example

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Words: 789

Essay

During the mid 1800’s, the California gold rush was at its peak.  The increasing interest in the gold rush attracted many individuals to California.  Levi Strauss, who was born in Bavaria and migrated to New York to make and sell clothes, ventured his way to California and began to craft the first pair of denim jeans for the worker (Levi Strauss and Co., 2004).   Levi Strauss was originally going to use canvas cloth to sell for tents and wagon covers; however, a miner told him that they needed some sort of pants that he could use which wouldn’t tear or rip.  Levi then developed the first pair of working jeans. (Bookrags)  The first pair of jeans, which Levi Strauss created and sold, was twenty two cents. He continued to make jeans and he died in 1902 leaving his company to his four nephews, Abraham Stern, Jacob, Sigmund and Louis. During 1928, Walter Haas became president until 1955.  (Bookrags)  During this time period and to the present time, the “worker jeans” have changed the face of the clothing industry.  Production of the jeans began during the 1920s and increased in size by the 50s and 60s.  In fact, “the company is now a global entity and symbolizes global culture (Camp et al., 2).

The jeans throughout history have changed in both style and material.  To begin, in 1873, Levi Strauss along with partner Jacob Davis was granted a patent for the process of riveting pants by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (patent # 139, 121). This patent was the invention of the blue jean. “Levi Strauss & Co. of this city are sole agents for the new manufacture, and will soon place them in the market in large quantities, so that our miners, farmers and

workingmen can supply themselves with superior overalls (Levis Strauss and Co.).”  In 1878, a man named Adolf von Baeyer formulated a synthetic indigo dye extracted from plants.  Levi began using this dye in his pants.  In addition, in 1886, Levi started to add a patch with the company logo on the jeans as well.  Then in the 1890s, pockets were added to the jeans.  By the 1920’s the Levi Strauss company added belt loops. In the year 1936, the company sewed a red flag next to the back pocket.  This was actually the first label to be placed on the outside of clothing.  After World War II, the 501 jeans are produced which become extremely popular and tern the phrase Levi’s, for Levis Strauss Jeans.  (LeviStrauss and Co.)  “When the public started referring to the pants generically as “Levi’s,” the company quickly trademarked it (Wikipedia)”.  In the 1960s, a new age of jeans was developed and started a fashion craze, the bell-bottomed jeans. (Bookrags)  “Bell-bottoms became very fashionable for women in the mid 1960s in Europe and in North America by the late 1960s, much of the 1970s, and early 1980s for both for men and women (Wikipedia).”

During the 1990s, the Levi Strauss and Co. began production of their products overseas (Levi Strauss and Co., 2004). During this period, the company increased its production size and started some societal changes in the fashion industry.  With the interest in Levi jeans worldwide, the company introduced “Capital E” jeans to the United States.  By 1996, with the success of the Capital E jeans, the company began a series of vintage clothing lines which were selling in stores around the globe (LeviStrauss and Co.).

During the early 2000s, Levi’s began to see a decline in sales due to global competition; however, by the year 2007, Levi Strauss begin to see an increase in profits, but not as profitable as the 1990s.  “Its total annual sales, of just over $4 billion, were $3 billion less than during its peak performance in the mid 1990s (Wikipedia)”.  In order to increase sales and profits, the company began selling its jeans on interest-free credit. (Wikipedia)

The history of Levis jeans is remarkable. Not only is the history of the changes and developments of the jeans interesting, it is amazing how the making of the jeans ties into part of the United States history with the California gold rush.  Jeans have been around for more than 100 years and continue to be a popular clothing item, thanks to the Levi Strauss company.

Works Cited

Bookrags.  “The History of Jeans”. 2011.  Retrieved from: http://www.bookrags.com/essay-2005/9/8/172919/2817

Camp, S., Clark, G., Laura, D. and Haight, A. “Life Cycle Analysis and Sustainability Report”. (December 6, 2010).  Retrieved from:  http://www.uvm.edu/~shali/Levi.pdf

Levi Strauss and Co. “Levi Strauss and Co. Timeline.” (2004) Levi Strauss and Co. Web. 18 Nov. 2010. Retrieved from: http://www.levistrauss.com/sites/default/files/librarydocument/2010/4/LSCo_Heritage_Timeline.pdf

Levi Strauss and Co. ” History of the Levi’s 501 Jeans.” Retrieved on December 12, 2011 from: http://www.levistrauss.com/sites/default/files/librarydocument/2010/4/history_of_levis_501_jeans.pdf

Wikipedia. “Bell-bottoms”. Web 6 December 2011.  Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bellbottoms

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