JeansAmerica is filled with ‘rags to riches’ stories but not all are as comical as the Levi Strauss story. Necessity truly is the Mother of invention. Just ask Levi Strauss!

Practically the entire world is familiar with the brand of Levi Strauss, but not everyone knows that the name belonged to an actual person who lived back in the 1800’s. Nor does anyone know just how many pairs of jeans were worn before the right ones were finally made to fit perfect.

There’s Gold Out Yonder!

In 1853 Levi Strauss, a German immigrant, set his sights on the California gold rush. He traveled to California from New York with a load of dry goods, mainly fabrics for his brother, and he planned on opening a store out west.

Levi traveled via boat and sold most of his fabrics on the boat, all he had left was a tough durable fabric. Shortly after Levi’s arrival in San Francisco a prospector asked Levi, “What ya selling?” and Levi explained he had some rough canvas for wagon covers and tents.

The prospector said, “You should’ve brought pants!”

Why Pants?

In the hills of California people were mining tirelessly and shredding their clothes simultaneously. Miners couldn’t find durable clothes to withstand the work. In essence, they were tired of spending their hard earned money on clothes that just didn’t last.

May 20, 1873

Most people consider May 20th of 1873 the official birthday of blue jeans because it was then that U.S. Patent #139,121 was issued for the manufacturing of Levi Strauss Jeans.

 Levi and a tailor from Nevada had finally developed the concept of strengthening pants with rivets, and thus started a fashion trend that is still hot today.

The Road to Riches …

To understand why so many people embraced the creation of blue jeans one needs to understand that nothing is successful without some sort of trial, error, success and failure.

It actually took twenty years for Levi to perfect blue jeans.

Levi tried many fabrics and finally found a cotton blend from France that we now call denim, people loved the feel of Levi’s pants. Ultimate success is a product that sells itself and Levi’s jeans did just that.

Tight JeansLevi Strauss Today

The Levi Strauss company has went through many challenges throughout the years but has managed to stay afloat among the competition, always evolving with the times, and lately even becoming more environmentally friendly with the company’s addition of eco friendly materials lacking harsh chemicals.

Levi Strauss himself is remembered for his kind acts of philanthropy and his hopes for the future. The story is beautiful and reminds us all that anything is possible.

The odds of a German immigrant becoming so successful in America today may seem less likely than in the 1800’s but everyday someone is climbing the ladder of success to prove that theory wrong, just like Levi Strauss.