- Film by Mr Aaron Christian, Video Style Editor, MR PORTER
- Words by Mr Chris Elvidge, Senior Copywriter, MR PORTER
When it comes to a style legacy, even Mr Yves Saint Laurent was known to regret not having invented blue jeans. He famously described them as "the most spectacular, the most practical, the most relaxed and nonchalant. They have expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity - all I hope for in my clothes."
The blue jean as we know it today instead finds its origins in Reno, Nevada, in early 1871, at a time when "the biggest little city in the world" was considerably smaller. A burgeoning county seat built on the gold and silver rush of the previous two decades, Reno was the home of German immigrant tailor, Mr Jacob Davis. He was called upon by a female client to make some sturdy work overalls for her overweight husband, and was first to happen upon the notion of fixing weak points around the pockets with copper rivets.
In a town full of miners and with a shortage of hard-wearing work clothes, Mr Davis' innovative new garments soon caught on, and as word started to spread he began to consider ways of protecting his idea. He turned to his fabric provider, Mr Levi Strauss, for support, and two years later in May 1873 the pair were awarded a US patent for rivet-strengthened pockets. That same year in San Francisco, Levi Strauss & Co. began producing its now world-famous jeans.
Formed in 1999, Levi's Vintage Clothing started as "a celebration of the history of our brand", and takes as its inspiration a denim and workwear archive of unparalleled depth. In our film, Mr Miles Johnson, design director of the brand, takes us through the painstaking process of reproducing original Levi Strauss garments that are exact in every way, down to the very last rivet.