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Levi’s Toasts 150 Years of 501 Jeans With a Party in San Francisco

We’re living during a time when micro trends reign supreme. As soon as you learn the meaning of coquettecore or finish reading yet another article about coded luxury, TikTok has already moved on to the next thing. It’s fitting that this is the climate in which Levi’s is celebrating the immense history of their company, and their first-ever style of jeans, the 501s, a pair just as ubiquitous now as they were when first designed in 1873. For a culture so obsessed with keeping up with the next big thing, the only antidote is embracing the historical, which is exactly what the iconic denim brand did when they turned the San Francisco Armory into a museum to celebrate 150 years of 501s.

The celebration began on Thursday night at a VIP preview of the space. Guests including Olivia Culpo, Sydney Carlson, and Rickey Thompson entered the event through the 501 Tunnel, which projected images and videos of 501’s century-and-a-half history, put together by artistic animator Ruff Mercy. Once inside, they encountered Chapters, the largest public display of archival 501s, highlighting important moments in the brand’s history—a walk down Levi’s memory lane, if you will. Pants worn by Lauryn Hill, signed by the Rolling Stones, and decorated for Woodstock were displayed alongside Steve Jobs’s favored pair and Bing Crosby’s famous denim tux.

Guests dressed in their denim best, some wearing the classic 501 style while others embraced the innovation of denim, showing up in everything from bejeweled jean mini skirts to slim-fitting vests. Levi’s variety of options were on full display, including their many collaborations with brands like Ganni and Stüssy. It seemed the dress code for the evening was denim, and no one failed to miss the unspoken memo. A denim workshop allowed attendees to repurpose the fabric and create new pieces out of the old, while a pop-up store provided the opportunity to shop for the classic 501 styles and customize the pieces with patches and embroidery. The evening closed out with a performance from Anderson.Paak as attendees embraced the Western nature of their apparel and broke out in some impromptu line dancing.

Following the party on Thursday night, Levi’s fans returned to take part in a denim workshop led by artist and designer Nicole McLaughlin. The creator, known for crafting wearable pieces out of everyday objects, led attendees as they created bags, hats, tops, and more out of denim that was beyond repair. For McLaughlin, who is a large proponent of sustainable fashion, the partnership was ideal. “My favorite part is being able to pass on the knowledge of upcycling to others,” she told W. “I appreciate a brand that truly loves their history and heritage. I think more brands should be pushing the boundaries of what they can do within the space of sustainability.”

The 501 Experience will live at the San Francisco Armory through May 27th, and the party will continue with DJ sets taking place throughout the weekend, allowing for a musical accompaniment to the shopping, customization, and celebration of the brand’s history.

Source: W Magazine

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