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No other fashion item has stood the test of time and arguably defined the American style more than a pair of blue jeans. Humble yet rebellious, and simply iconic, the five-pocket pants are the most hard-wearing piece of clothing in any man’s wardrobe. In menswear, there are only a few things that have hardly changed throughout the past hundred years and the blue jeans have been at the forefront of these archival garments. With this reason, vintage jeans have become highly sought after with some pairs dating back as far as late 19th century.
When it comes to shopping for vintage jeans, the most coveted brand is none other than the company that invented what we have come to call ‘jeans’. Among innumerable vintage jeans in the market, the Levi’s 501 remains the holy grail of all jeans, fetching prices from a few hundred baht to staggering several hundred thousand baht depending on the period, model, size, condition and rarity.
We recognize that searching for vintage jeans may be a daunting process, whether it’s done online, in a thrift store, or at a flea market. W. MINISTRY’s limited collection of vintage Levi’s jeans has been meticulously sourced by a team of enthusiastic vintage aficionados to guarantee that only the best are offered – outstanding condition, characterful, unmodified, entirely original, and in good sizes.
In 1853, Levi Strauss established his dry-goods company, Levi Strauss & Co., in San Francisco. As successful as Strauss was, he owed a great deal to Jacob Davis, a tailor from Nevada who invented the copper-riveted workwear that made the brand renowned across the world.
In 1872, Strauss and Davis introduced their first product: riveted workwear composed of cotton duck or genuine blue denim. A year later, Levi Strauss & Co. and Jacob Davis were granted patent #139,121 by the US Patent and Trademark Office for the technique of riveting denim waist coveralls, thus launching the blue jean or, as it was known at the time, the ‘XX’. The name was inspired by the greatest (‘extra, extra strong’) denim produced by the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company in Manchester, New Hampshire, where the first jeans were created.
Levi Strauss & Co. debuted the Two Horse emblem in 1886, which was imprinted on a leather patch sewed onto the waistband. The Two Horse logo, which depicts two horses attempting in vain to rip a pair of Levi’s in half, is still one of the greatest instances of excellent branding, conveying a message about the strength and utility of its goods that is still visible today.
When Levi Strauss & Co.’s patent expired in 1890, the business was forced to devise new ways to distinguish itself and its products from competitors that entered the market that year. With this in mind, Levi Strauss & Co. began printing information on the strength and uniqueness of the ‘XX’ denim waist coveralls on the inner pocket bag, assuring buyers understood who had arrived first. With this modification came the introduction of lot number 501, essentially rechristening the ‘XX’ with the product name by which we have known the jean ever since.