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The Levi Strauss co. Timelines 1853-2000


Levi set up a small dry-goods house in San Francisco, which grows into a prosperous business over the next twenty years.

Jacob Davis a tailor from Nevada invented to rivet the pocket corners on the pants for increased durability. Davis contacted Levi Strauss to agree to file a “jeans rivet” patent and started making waist overalls with copper rivets to strengthen the jeans.
The pants are called waist overalls (workwear) with these feature’s; one back pocket, Accurate stitching, watch pocket, chinch, suspender, and buttons crotch rivet. The first jeans had a watch-pocket and still today one of the most important details about the jean’s anatomy. In the 1960s, the watch pocket got another street name added, the “drug pocket.”

The two-horse brand leather patch introduced by Levi Strauss Co. to demonstrate the strength of the jeans and the patent riveted clothing.

Levi Strauss Co. jacket named Type I jacket introduced in the early 1900s with LOT 506XX. One detail was the cinch-back, called “clinchers” with a silver buckle, later replaced with bronze and the single front pocket.

Cone Mills North Carolina became Levi Strauss Co supplier of denim fabrics and later becomes one of Levi Strauss most important business relationship in their long history. The earthquake and fire destroy the headquarters and two factories of Levi Strauss & Co in San Francisco.
Levi Strauss Co. introduces the first LOT number 501 for their jean’s model (501 jeans). Why 501 was chosen is unknown because all Levi’s data was lost in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire.

Simon David invents the “Koveralls” LS&CO. receives the Highest Award for waist overalls at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition.

Levi Strauss Co. adds belt loops to the denim jeans.

Cone Mills 10 oz. red selvedge denim only for Levi’s 501 jeans. Woven 29” wide looms also known as XX denim.

Levi Strauss Co. registers the word Levi’s like a trademark.

Levi Strauss Co. creates the first jeans for girls named “Lady Levi’s”.

Levi Strauss Co introduces the Red Tab placed on the left side of the right pocket with the capital letter. LEVI’S stitched in white.

The Arcuate stitching design is registered as a trademark by Levi Strauss Co.

Levi Strauss Co. introduces Levi’s type ll jackets; a modern version of the type l jacket; many fine details, the most visually different is an added front pocket.

Levi Strauss Co. introduces a new denim jacket LOT number 557XX also known as the trucker jacket.

Pre-shrunk Levi’s jeans are introduced to the market.

Levi Strauss Co. launches STA-PREST jeans.

Levi Strauss Co. introduces the new house mark the “batwing” adopted in 1967, with the founder of Levi Strauss spelt Levi’s

Levi Strauss Co. introduce Bell Bottom Jeans

Corduroy & polyester jeans introduced by Levi Strauss Co.

Levi Strauss Co. changes the red tab letters, LEVI’S was written in capital letters, name changes to Levi’s small letter creating the concept Levi’s Vintage Clothing introduced globally. Replica of historical clothing from the Levi Strauss & Co. Archives throughout different decades and youth cultures.

Levi Strauss Co. develops the global Trendscout teams, trend research for the next blueprint in denim jeans

Levi Strauss Co. presents mega-trends 2000 – beyond first research about a change towards sustainable design important for the brand in the nearby future.
Levi Strauss innovative new concept Levi’s RED is introduced, in the premium jean’s market. With fabrics such as hemp strengthen Levi Strauss Co their position among innovators and press. Engineered Jeans is the commercial spin-off of Levi’s RED
Levi’s engineered jeans introduced, the 21 first-century jean’s DNA
Levi Strauss Co introduces the new and modern re-design pocket labels, hand tags, tees and underwear for all jeans lines globally included Levi’s Engineered Jeans.

Levi Strauss & Co. celebrates the 150th anniversary of its founding.

Innovative Levi’s eco organic jeans debut, catering to the eco-friendly consumer

Levi Strauss Co. introduces “Made and Crafted” clothing inspired from the archive, modern fit, and fabrics

Levi Strauss Co. introduces Curve ID, custom jeans made to fit the curve of a woman’s body.
Levi Strauss Co. introduced a more sustainable jean’s line called Water<Less collection.

Levi Strauss Co. introduces Men’s Commuter Jean, built for bicycling.

The most creative years

The timelines present the long history and heritage of Levi Strauss Co with the most essential jeans-wear introduction. And other critical dates. However, a few have been left out and other has been added, particularly the years between 1996 – 2000 the reasons are many: first of all, I was employed within the company between 1994 – 2001 and secondly, the period between 1996 – 2001 was the most creative years in modern denim Jean’s history. During those difficult years, the brand managed to turn a negative trend, Levi Strauss Co. was perceived by the market as grey, a dusty, old and somewhat dull brand without any newness or innovation. During those years, Levi Strauss managed to transform into once again the leading jeans brand worldwide. The period is regarded by many as the most formative years in the brand modern history.

Levis Strauss Co. Faced A Difficult Time

At the end of the 1990’s Levi Strauss, Co. met a lot of new competitions, and the market denim market became very fragmented. Brand new fresh advertising such as Diesel stole a lot of tension from Levi’s and got loads of PR. non-denim fabrics became extremely popular, just mention the workwear trends, Levi’s flagship 501 jeans had during the 1980s, and 90’s grown incredibly, and Levi’s people were blind and deaf to the fact that nothing grows into heaven. Signals from the market, people, and research told the truth of a weakened brand and less sought-after Jean; however, at this point, it was impossible to avoid a fall without scratches.

In my opinion, the 501 jeans became more significant than the brand itself and created a dangerous situation; most Levi’s people and especially those who had been in leading positions ignored new trend forecasts and did not realize the impact changing trends would cause trouble for the brand.

However, this was not the only issue making the downturn even harder; Nike started as the first significant brand to outsource all productions throughout countries and producer offering the lowest price, this made it impossible for Levi Strauss to compete. As most of the factory was owned and operated by Levi Strauss and many of them streamlined for 501 jeans production.

The Creative Turnaround

Levi’s needed to take a grip on the situation, nevertheless; 2-3 years with a combination of an inferior product, marketing management and board decisions that did not put enough power behind it (allocated budgets). Finally, stable market-driven leadership with sufficient resources worked the plan bringing the brand back to top position. Most people might not know that it was in Europe and not the US the creative turnaround happened.

In 1998, the Trendscout project was established with an extensive network of trend-scout across Europe; the US and Japan gave input monthly forming the future direction of products and marketing. One of the key findings of the trend-scout project in 2000 megatrend was; sustainable fashion. Concepts such as Levi’s Vintage Clothing (LVC), smaller fresh collection’s Levi’s casuals, 1960s Sta-Prest, All-duty workwear, future workwear brand ICD+ (Industrial clothing division with build-in mobile phones. MP3 player, etc.) was launched in the market.

The dusty old Levi’s labelling of products such as pocket labels, hang tags, packaging was re-designed and modernized. However, the revolutionizing project was launched of Levi’s RED, and the commercial spin-off and mass-market product Levi’s engineered was introduced and seen as the twenty-first-century jeans’ blueprint. Together with innovative digital marketing, websites and renewed and positive feedback from press and consumer managed Levi Strauss Co to turn the negative trend and take back the position as the leading and talked about fashion brand around the world.

Sources and Useful Information

Additional information 1996 – 2001

  • TRENDSCOUT PROJECT 1998 – Kenneth buddha jeans
  • RE-LABELING 2000 – Design Mark Farrow – creative direction Caroline Parent, Kenneth buddha jeans
  • LEVI.COM – Peter Ingwersen
  • LEVI’S RED & LEVI ENGINEERED JEANS 2000, Christine Detlefsen, Rikke Korf, Caroline Parent, Kenneth buddha jeans
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