In 1873 Levi Strauss and tailor Jacob Davis received a U.S. patent to make the first riveted men's work
pants out of denim: the first blue jeans.
Jacob Davis, a Jewish emigrant from Latvia, was a tailor who frequently purchased bolts of cloth made from hemp from Levi Strauss & Co.'s wholesale house. After one of Davis' customers kept purchasing cloth to reinforce torn pants, he had an idea to use copper rivets to reinforce the points of strain, such as on the pocket corners and at the base of the button fly. Davis did not have the required money to purchase a patent, so he wrote to Strauss suggesting that they go into business together. After Levi accepted Jacob's offer, on May 20, 1873, the two men received U.S. Patent 139,121 from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The patented rivet was later incorporated into the company's jean design and advertisements.
Contrary to an advertising campaign suggesting that Levi Strauss sold his first jeans to gold miners during the California Gold Rush (which peaked in 1849), the manufacturing of denim overalls only began in the 1870s. The company then created their first pair of Levis 501 Jeans in the 1890s, a style that went on to become the world's best selling item of clothing.Modern jeans began to appear in the 1920s, but sales were largely confined to the working people of the western United States, such as cowboys, lumberjacks, and railroad workers.
Levi’s jeans apparently were first introduced to the East during the dude ranch craze of the 1930s, when vacationing Easterners returned home with tales examples of the hard-wearing pants with rivets. Another boost came in World War II, when blue jeans were declared an essential commodity and were sold only to people engaged in defense work.
Between the 1950s and 1980s, Levi's jeans became popular among a wide range of youth subcultures, including greasers, mods, rockers, hippies and skinheads. Levi's popular shrink-to-fit 501s were sold in a unique sizing arrangement; the indicated size referred to the size of the jeans prior to shrinking, and the shrinkage was substantial. The company still produces these unshrunk, uniquely sized jeans, and they are still Levi's number one selling product.
Today, most Levi's jeans are made outside the US, for sub-minimum wages, seven-day work weeks with 12-hour shifts, poor living conditions and other indignities.
The activist group Fuerza Unida (United Force) was formed following the January 1990 closure of a plant in San Antonio, Texas, in which 1,150 seamstresses, some of whom had worked for Levi Strauss for decades, saw their jobs exported to Costa Rica. During the mid- and late-1990s, Fuerza Unida picketed the Levi Strauss headquarters in San Francisco and staged hunger strikes and sit-ins in protest of the company's labor policies.
In June 1996, the company offered to pay its workers an unusual dividend of up to $750 million in six years' time, having halted an employee stock plan at the time of the internal family buyout. However, the company failed to make cash flow targets, and no worker dividends were paid.
In 2002, Levi Strauss began a close business collaboration with Walmart, producing a special line of "Signature" jeans and other clothes for exclusive sale in Walmart stores until 2006.
Excerpts courtesy Wikipedia
In every country he has visited - from the Philippines to Turkey, India and Brazil - Miller has stopped and counted the first 100 people to walk by, and in each he found that almost half the population wore jeans on any given day.
Jeans are everywhere, he says, with the exception of rural tracts of China and South Asia.
My view, they are practical but ugly. Also a boring piece of clothing as everybody wears them! Clever advertising has done the trick to conform people like Mao did with his blue jackets and pants, which was thought of in the capitalistic Western world to be ugly and awful and only communists would or could wear something like this!
Levis Jeans are what they were intended for Hard Yakka gear.
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