The 1950s was the decade that witnessed jeans crossing over from denim work wear to high street fashion, known as the ‘Blue Jeans Craze’. This teenage fashion trend was also fuelled in part by the birth of Rock and Roll, Pop culture and a revolution in accepted casual apparel. Eminent Fifties film stars like James Dean and Marlon Brando were filmed wearing denim jeans and jackets and assisted in making Levi’s the iconic brand it is today. Although the men’s range proved the most popular during this decade, Levi’s did provide a women’s range. The ‘Lady Levi’ had been available pre-shrunk since the 1930s, featuring a high nipped in waist.Key style trends during the Fifties included light washes, cuffed jeans and black denim and shrink to fit.
Levi’s increased further in popularity during the 1960s with the advent of various pre-shrunk stone washes. As the hippie age dawned, new youth cultures adopted jeans as their preferred casuals. Personalisation of jeans with embroidery, rhinestones and patches became popular amongst both men’s and women’s ranges. Vibrant denim colours also proved fashionable, as exemplified by the 1961 kid’s range ‘White Levi’s’. Levi’s Strauss and Co also introduced Sta-Prest in 1964, a men’s wear item that was reintroduced in 2012 by Levi’s and is available from menswear shop Prem. During the later Sixties and into the 1970s Levi’s women’s ranges were supplemented with new cuts of denim skirts.
Various jean cuts were popular in the 1970s as denim apparel’s popularity attained new heights. As youth cultures shifted and changed, their successive wardrobe mainstay proved to be denim jeans and jackets. During this time jeans also became readily accepted as casual/smart clothing with mainstream markets. Film stars like Clint Eastwood and Sally Field further increased popularity and proved mainstream acceptance whilst sporting jeans in contemporary roles. Both Levi’s men’s wear and women’s wear ranges included full and straight leg, flare and bell bottoms.
With the advent of the 1980s an historic moment for Levi Strauss &Co’s women’s wear beckoned. In 1981 Levi’s introduced 501s into their women’s wear range. Two years later Levi’s women’s wear ranges were further supplemented by stone washing. Skinny leg cuts also proved popular. As the previous decade had witnessed the burgeoning acceptance of denim; the 1980s saw Levi’s kid’s ranges increase in popularity and Levi’s offered a far larger kid’s wear range. Men’s wear was dominated by stone washes, and straight leg cuts that gradually loosened over the decade. Coloured denim remained popular, but designer flourishes were now being added to jeans in the form of more radical and intense stone washes and acid washes, rips and distressing.
As the millennium entered its final decade, denim tastes altered significantly. As ever denim remained a mainstay amongst youth cultures as well as mainstream consumers during the 1990s, although the styles sported were vastly different. Levi’s women’s ranges expanded to include 501, 550 and 512 premium denim slim fits. In 1996 Levi’s men’s wear endorsed vintage chic with the reproduction of historic Levi’s garments, available at menswearshop Prem. Despite mainstream trends remaining faithful to straight leg cuts, men’s wear and women’s ranges that marked the 1990s included the carpenter cut, overalls and short alls, boot cuts and flares, whilst Rave and Hip Hop culture demanded baggier styles of denim men’s and women’s wear. 1999 proved a seminal year for Levi Strauss & Co, Time magazine named the Levi’s 501 jean fashion item of the century.
With the dawn of new a millennium, ultra-low rise jeans championed by Pop artist like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera became fashion staples. There was resurgence amongst denim wearing consumersand jeans became acceptable office and casual wear. 2002 saw Levi’s launch their super low rise women’s wear jeans collection. Boot and flared cuts continued to prove popular during the early 2000s for Levi’s men’s wear and women’s wear, however by the mid part of the decade skinny and slim straight leg cuts, available from menswearshopPrem, surged in popularity. New for 2014 is Levi’s women’s wear range Curve ID, which aims for fit for shape not size.