Denim History – “Levi’s As America: A Riveting Icon”

Levi Strauss, the father of denim and founder of Levi Strauss & Co.

Earlier this month while researching Levi Strauss & Co. for a presentation about Corporate Social Responsibility, I stumbled across a set of YouTube videos documenting the history of Levi’s in America. This post is somewhat of a continuation of Raw Denim Reading – “Denim: From Cowboys to Catwalks…” because it covers many aspects of the book (the author, Paul Trynka, is even interviewed!).

As you all know, Levi’s is highly respected for being the original denim company. Founded in 1853 by Levi Strauss, they started making denim shortly after Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss teamed up to secure the patent for the pocket rivets in 1873. It’s highly recommended for any denimhead to know the history of Levi Strauss & Co. because of their rich and interesting history in the denim scene.

Although there was a period where Levi’s deviated from its roots (the raw denim roots, that is), they have since re-released lines (i.e. Levi’s Vintage Clothing) that would appeal to any raw denim enthusiast.

Their current lineup regularly features several lines of raw denim with the descriptions “raw,”selvedge,” and “rigid” for affordable prices (See: 5 Raw Denim Under $100 – Part 1/2). Remember that raw denim is the more environmental choice (See: Raw Denim – The Environmental & Green Choice)!

Enjoy and take notes on the videos:

Levi’s As America: A Riveting Icon Part 1

Levi’s As America: A Riveting Icon Part 2

Levi’s As America: A Riveting Icon Part 3

Levi’s As America: A Riveting Icon Part 4

Levi’s As America: A Riveting Icon Part 5

Stay raw!

– Josh
tw: @rawrdenim | fb: Rawr Denim | subscription: Rawr Denim


Well known for his 15 month Nudies Jeans denim experiment in 2010, Josh is a raw denim enthusiast, tennis fan, and foodie from Edmonton, Canada.

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  • Grazfather x

    I can’t believe I watched the whole thing.

  • Supernova33333

    Hi there, thanks fore another great post!
    I would like to add a personal comment to Raw Denim – The Environmental & Green Choice.
    The denim cannot be a green choice for the simple reason that the dying process from the start ( the thread b4 woven) it is the most polluting step of the process. Even saving bleaching or enzimes for final garment washes won’t make the denim “environment friendly”. A raw denim ALWAYS receive a general garment wash b4 being commercialized according to international regulations. A denim fabric must not release any toxic chemical before leaving the manufacture and a finished garment must be cleaned to standards (from workplace allergenic dusts and bacterias) before being packaged and shipped. Many brands prefer to add and extra finishing wash for commercial reasons as in spite of the above mandatory steps, the denim will still turns your hands blue within 5 minutes. Unfortunately denim, straight after leather, is the most polluting area of production in  the apparel industry. In matter of the History of the denim or jeans: it starts in the 1400 when in Nimes and Turin big productions of sturdy and cheap twill fabrics (designated for workwear and equipment in the sailing business) were largely exported from Genoa port. From here the names of the 2 big competitor in the matter: De-Nimes (from Nimes) and Blue-Jeans originally Blue-de-Genes (blue fabric from Genoa). Levi’s smartly made it become a fashion symbol.

    • Rawr Denim

      @42f6a7ebbf1621d334e4dd96b294bd41:disqus Thanks for the info & insight. Our argument with that particular article was that raw denim is “the environmental choice” compared to pre-distressed and washed denim since it does not undergo processes such as sandblasting and acid washing, nor is it washed nearly as much during wear. Denim is one of the most common pants worn, and raw denim is arguably the least environmentally detrimental.

  • Wendy

    This is awesome..thanks. Wendy

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