With an icon comes stories—historical, cultural and personal
Remember the movie, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants? Many say the brand used is Levi’s and that it’s one of the best coming-of-age stories told in the 00’s. While you may or may not agree, there’s no question that Levi’s is an icon. And with an icon comes stories (a man who asked to be buried in his Levi’s was among many that stood out) that make the brand the greatest story ever worn.
2023 marks the 150th anniversary of the Levi’s 501 jeans—one of the most enduring styles and the original template from which all other jeans have been born. The pair has been worn by everyone; changemakers, thought leaders and people like you and me in its 150-year history. So to commemorate the countless stories of fans and followers of the brand, Levi’s is launching The Greatest Story Ever Worn campaign, starting with three short films directed by Martin de Thurah and Melina Matsoukas. With these stories, as well as others inspired by true events, The Greatest Story Ever Worn celebrates the 501® jeans’ incredible past and its role in countless historical, cultural and personal moments.
The first film, Precious Cargo, shares the story of how the 501s made its way to Kingston, Jamaica in the 70s and how the people made them uniquely their own. Meanwhile, the second film, Fair Exchange, tells the story of a beloved family bellcow and the son who swapped the beast for a pair of 501 Jeans, much to his family's dismay. Finally, the third, Legends Never Die, tells the true story of one devoted Levi’s wearer who requested to be buried in his 501 jeans—a final wish we were surprised to hear is shared by many. This specific fan asked all funeral attendees to wear their 501s, too.
“Few products, let alone pieces of clothing, have been as consistently present for so many human experiences for as long as the 501®. Coming from the humblest of beginnings as workwear pants, Levi’s® 501® jeans have become a blank canvas for self expression that transcends the boundaries of culture and class. This is an incredible moment and milestone for the brand and, through The Greatest Story Ever Worn campaign, we aim to celebrate the legacy of the 501®, its unrivaled breadth and global relevance, and to inspire the next chapters,” says Chris Jackman, VP of Brand Marketing, Levi’s.
The launch of The Greatest Story Ever Worn also revisits classics, like the 1954 501 fit for men and 1981 501 for women. Levi’s is also releasing a whole new range of finishes for both the 501 Original and the 501 ’93.
Levi’s 150th year celebrates the most iconic, democratic and beloved piece of clothing of all time and does so in the most fitting way possible. What’s your 501 story?
Art Matthew Fetalver