I was gifted my first pair of vintage Levis almost 10 years ago. I put them on, they fit like a glove, the made my bottom half look badass (literally.) I lived in them, and I never looked back. From then on I bought all my Levis from Slash in Berkeley. It's been around forever, a little nook below street level in Elmwood. You step down into a Levi collectors dream. Its floor to ceiling stacks of pants! The friendly staff assess your needs and pull from piles all the jeans you could imagine. You try them on right then and there, in the middle of the darkly lit store. I've never been disappointed there. For those of you who aren't in the East Bay, there is always Etsy, thrift stores and pop-ups.
US Patent Number 139,121 started it all. Well, US Patent Number 139,121, a great idea and a partnership between Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss. They developed the very first pair of men's work pants made of denim in the year 1873. Their 501 jeans were created in 1890 (in San Francisco) and eventually went on to become one of the best selling items of clothing in history.
In the 1950's and 1960's Levi's Jeans became popular with a variety of sub cultures. The popularity of jeans increased across the board and a number of other manufactures began producing similar products. By the 1990's the competition was fierce (especially with the overseas market). Though Levi Strauss holds the trademark for their signature pocket design.
If you are interested in collecting vintage Levi's you should start with identification. This site offers some expert tips, as does this one. Also important in Levi's collecting is identifying a fake or impostor. Levis Strauss was involved in many lawsuits involving their patent style. Read here for help on impostor spotting. There are a plethora of titles regarding Levi's history, Levi Strauss himself, the history of blue jeans and denim; including "This Is a Pair of Levi's Jeans: The Official History of The Levi's Brand," which is a collectors item itself.
And last but not least I leave you with this....
All the Levi's items you see here are available for purchase on Etsy. Thank you Etsy sellers for the use of your beautiful photographs!