The year 2015 commemorates the 100th anniversary of the partnership between Levi Strauss and Co. and Cone® Denim.
Cone Denim began in 1891 when brothers Moses and Caesar founded Cone Export & Commission Company in Greensboro, North Carolina, near the eastern foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. In 1905, they established the White Oak® Mill, named after a 200-year- old tree on its grounds. This mill would not only set the global standard for quality denim, it would become the world’s most iconic denim mill.
In need of a reputable denim supplier, Levi Strauss & Co. approached Cone, and in 1915 a historic agreement was struck granting Cone Mills the exclusive right to manufacture Levi’s® proprietary Shrink-to-FitTM denim for the production of all Levi’s® Lot 501® Jeans. This Gentleman’s Agreement became known as “The Golden Handshake.”
Today, 100 years later, Levi Strauss & Co. still produces the 501® using Shrink-to-FitTM denim from Cone Mills’ White Oak facility in Greensboro, and we continue unearthing archival details about the fabrics we developed through our history with Cone, reproducing them faithfully at White Oak. Each weave carries the secrets of our long history within its warp and weft.
To commemorate this anniversary, Levi’s® Vintage Clothing Fall/Winter 2015 collection pays special tribute to Cone Mills to honor the centennial of “The Golden Handshake,” the 1915 501® Jean, and the hardworking folk who joined hands to create it.
Notable Product 1915 501: This replica of the original 1915 501® employs red selvage denim that Levi’s® Vintage Clothing collaborated with Cone Mills on for over two years, in order to ensure its authenticity. These jeans have two back pockets, exposed back pocket rivets, a cinched back and suspender buttons, single needle arcuate, two horse leather patch, and a crotch rivet.
Levi’s® has been refining the fit, fabric and features of the 501® in response to each succeeding era. Sometimes subtle and only apparent to the discerning eye, the differences between each of the historic 501® help tell the story of Levi’s® Brand and the ever-evolving landscape of the American frontier. Levi’s® Vintage Clothing reproduces each of the most historically significant 501s® from the past 123 years exactly as they are first introduced. Stretched across timeline from 1890 to 1978, the collection includes:
1890 XX501® – Loose, anti-fit waist overall
1933 501® – Wide and relaxed fit jean
1944 501® – High waisted regular fit jean
1947 501® – Classic slim fit with a straight leg jean
1954 501® – Narrow tapered leg with a zip fly jean
1955 501® – Square top block and a straight leg jean
1966 501® – Rounded top block and a tapered leg
1978 501® – Slim fit, square top block and a low rise jean
For more information about the Levi’s® brand, its products and stores, please visit levi.com.