The 501 Jean: Stories of an Original – Documentary

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In 1873 a fashion icon was born, shaping cultures for decades - right to today! The Levi 501 is unquestionable the single most enduring fashion item, a symbol that has and continues to define various 'pop' cultures. This original short, three part documentary by Levi looks at the history of 501 – the original and first ever blue jean.

'The 501® Jean: Stories of an Original' has three episodes: 1.) Work,  2.) Style and 3.) Rebellion.

Work: Traces the 501 jean's roots as a utilitarian garment for coal miners, cowboys, industrial workers, all the way to the creative workers who continue to wear it today.

Style: For the first time Levi’s are worn for their look, rather than function. Hollywood stars adopt it for decades and the 501® Jean becomes a style icon: continuing to inspire contemporary designers and style leaders.

Rebellion: The 501 jean is a symbol for countercultures as broad as biker clubs, punk, rap, skateboarding, and art movements. It can be seen on crowds through decades of activism: from beats to hippies, LGBTQ rights protests, to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The 501® Jean: Stories of an Original

The 501® Jean: Stories of an Original is narrated byRamblin' Jack Elliott, one of folk music's most enduring characters and features interviews with the likes of Henry Rollins, John Baldessari, Erin Wasson, Gary Burden, Andy Spade, Mark McNairy, Eddie Huang, Steven Alan, Jim Walrod, Kim Hastreiter, Mel Ottenberg, Scott Schuman, Lee Ranaldo, Darren Romanelli, Greg Chapman, Hal Fischer, Rachel Wang, and many others.


A fourth episode was later released looking at the denim culture Levi's generated beyond its homeland — a passion particular to Japan. This episode 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 take on Americana is now globally influential.



Do you own a pair of Levi 501 jeans? Let us know in the comments below what you love about your blue jeans.

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Aeisha Iyambo

Freelance lifestyle and fashion blogger. Loves skinny jeans, vintage denim, leather bags and nail art. When not writing, she can be found watching series or taking long walks.

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