The father of the blue jeans
The origin of the highly popular “blue jeans” is rooted in the humble beginnings of an 18-year-old entrepreneur who patented the attire of choice for farmers and cowboys in the late 1800s, designed by a Jewish merchant after immigrating to the USA. This is the incredible story of Levi Straus, the father of blue jeans.
Blue jeans have become an international symbol of independence, equality, freedom, and youth more than a century later because of their versatility, endurance and lifestyle statement. However, this was not always the case. The creator of the iconic American garment was born in the small town of Buttenheim in Germany. At 16, Levi Strauss and his sisters hopped on a ship and ventured to New York to meet his two older brothers, who had a wholesale dry goods company called “J. Strauss Brother & Co.”
He traversed New York as a mobile merchant, carrying up to 100 pounds of sewing supplies, blankets, and kettles for the next few years until, one day, the family decided to establish a West Coast branch in San Francisco, the commercial center of California. It was the pinnacle of the California Gold Rush, and when word spread east, Levi, like a natural-born entrepreneur, travelled to San Francisco in 1853 in search of wealth and fortune.
Levi started his own wholesale dry goods business and worked as the West Coast representative for the family’s New York enterprise. His brothers in New York supplied clothing, bedding, combs, purses, handkerchiefs, and fabrics for the business, which he offered to the booming population of California miners. One day, Levi got a letter from one of his customers, a tailor named Jacob Davis. Davis explained in his letter the novel method of how he constructed denim pants for his clients in a unique way, adding rivets to stressed areas around the pocket corners to strengthen them and increase their durability.
Levi was excited with this concept as most miners, ranchers and farmers frequently complained about the easily torn cotton pockets and pants, plus there was a growing demand for these durable “waist overalls.” Davis begged him to join him as a business partner to cover the costs of the patent for this novel concept because he lacked the money to do so. Following Strauss’ agreement, the US Patent No. 139121 was issued on May 20, 1873. This day is considered the official birthday of the iconic “blue jeans” brand Levi Strauss & Co (NYSE: LEVI).
Even though Levi Strauss & Co (NYSE: LEVI) is still in the denim business today, technology motivates the company to keep pushing the limits of the sector. The corporation overcame many of the difficulties caused by the pandemic by embracing new technology. They swiftly improved the speed and searchability of its e-commerce sites and introduced various e-shopping options, such as curbside pickup and shipping straight from stores.
The company’s digital revenue surged by 50% in the third quarter of 2021, representing around 25% of total company revenues. The pandemic hastened changes in consumer behaviour and the retail environment in ways that strengthened Levi’s brand. To have a deeper understanding of Gen Z and sustainability, they doubled down on their digital transformation, embracing the power of AI and data science.
The primary focus of Levi Strauss & Co (NYSE: LEVI) at the moment is sustainability in the apparel industry, bringing an innovative lens to the environmental and social impact of the materials and processes throughout its supply chain. By using recycled materials to create their iconic 501 model jean, which has been the company’s best-selling style since 1890, they are demonstrating to the industry that it is possible to produce more sustainable goods that satisfy the highest quality requirements, look fantastic, and conserve resources.
The final result is a new pair of jeans manufactured from an old pair that can be recycled into new ones again. They also started using AI now to evaluate their performance in this endeavour. By merging the usage of decades of data, climate, weather, financial and market outlooks to assess business decisions better. Levi Strauss & Co (NYSE: LEVI) is bringing AI to everything from product design to customer experience operations, their loyalty programme and even optimizing shipping logistics.
Nearly 200 years after founding a company that captures people’s youthful energy and spirit, Levi Strauss & Co (NYSE: LEVI) still intrigues and inspires new generations to come.