MANILA,, PHILIPPINES — To mark the 150th anniversary of its iconic 501 jeans, denim brand Levi’s has launched a year-long campaign: “The Greatest Story Ever Worn.” Inspired by stories both mundane and momentous, it celebrates the 501 jeans’ incredible past and its role in inspiring a new generation to write the next chapter.
The first historically based film, Precious Cargo, shared the story of how 501 jeans made its way to Kingston, Jamaica in the 1970s. Directed by Melina Matsoukas and shot by academy award-nominated cinematographer Bradford Young, the film is a celebratory exploration of an island that’s distinct style, rhythm, and soul has reverberated across the globe.
“The Greatest Story Ever Worn” presents 501 jeans as an ever-expanding story, written and rewritten by everyone who fastens up the fifth button. This ever-expanding narrative features a collection of characters, events, ambitions, and memories from everyday heroes to unbelievable icons.
“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 Levi’s 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,” said Levi’s VP of Brand Marketing Chris Jackman.
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. Directed by Martin de Thurah and shot by acclaimed cinematographer Kasper Tuxen, a cold Georgian winter is the backdrop to a film that explores 501 jeans as a beacon for something bigger – a dream.
Finally, the third film, 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 that many people have relayed to the brand over the years. This legend asked all funeral attendees to wear their 501® jeans too.
Also directed by Martin de Thurah, the film is a beautiful reflection on the type of collective love that would inspire a group of people to show up in denim for a beloved family member and friend. It is a celebration of humanity and the inextricable connection between a man who truly lived in his Levi’s 501 jeans.
The launch of “The Greatest Story Ever Worn” kicks off the celebration of the 501 jeans’ 150th anniversary, and along with the film, Levi’s is re-releasing its classic 1954 501 fit for men and 1981 501 for women, as well as a whole new range of finishes for both the 501 Original and the 501 ’93.
Leading the 501 charge this season for men is the new Levi’s 501 ‘54 jean. Inspired by the fit of the original 1954 501 in the Levi’s archives, the new ’54 features a higher rise with a slimmer, slightly tapered leg than the 501 Original and the 501 ’93. For women, the new 501 fit this season is the 501 ’81, based off the very first women’s 501 released in 1981. Structured more like a mom jean, it sits higher on the waist with a higher rise and features a slightly tapered leg — the perfect tribute to the quintessential ‘80s denim fit.
Along with the new 501’54 and ’81 fits, the 501 lineup is getting a new range of finishes inspired by jeans in the Levi’s archives, through naturally worn-in finishes on selvedge denim inspired by the archival Levi’s 1890 “Calico” 501, 1978 “Ricky” 501, and 1983 501. Vintage-inspired craft and patchwork finishes are also available across the range of 501 ’54, 501 ’93, and 501 Original jeans, inspired by the popularity of vintage 501 jeans, and the way people alter and repair their jeans to make them totally lived in and unique.
A commemorative film and various modern iterations of the most classic denim jean — the 150th anniversary of the Levi’s 501 jean celebrates the most iconic, democratic, and beloved piece of clothing of all time in the best fitting way possible.
Creative concept and direction: Droga 5
Directors: Melina Matsoukas and Martin de Thurah
Photographer: Jason Nocito
Stylist: Mobolaji Dawodu