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138-Year-Old Pair of Levi's Jeans Proves Things Used To Be Built To Last


If you're anything like me, you love jeans but jeans don't always love you back. Whether it's the bottoms fraying after being outside for a bit, the back being woefully unprepared to support your badonkadonk, or your thighs chafing right through them, it feels like we're having to buy new pairs just about every year, especially if you wear them often.

Fashion Nova

Of course, like many things, it wasn't always like this with jeans. Originally patented back in 1873, denim jeans were built for cowboys and miners, and were equipped to take fair amount of punishment before ultimately giving out. However, as they became fashionable to more and more groups of people, the demand for more pairs at a cheaper price meant that quality had to decline, and today jeans just aren't the same.


However, it turns out that the company that patented jeans in the first place, Levi's, hasn't forgotten the roots of their business by any means. In fact, they have a piece of their history locked away in their archive; a 138-year-old pair of jeans that dates back to the formation of the company!

The details behind this thing are pretty incredible...

Only two people have the combination to the vault that contain's the world's oldest pair of jeans; its CEO, and Tracey Panek, the Levi Strauss & Co. historian. Speaking to Mashable, Panek takes us all on a tour of what jeans used to be like back in the 1800s.

"I like to think of them as the very first early sustainable garment ... you could wear them out, you could pass them on, you could patch them up, they were built to last" she explains to the outlet.

The jeans themselves have a number of differences compared to modern ones. For starters, there are no belt loops; instead there are buttons to hold up suspenders, the preferred way of keeping pants up at the time.

They also have an imprint of two horses on the inside of the pockets, which is meant to represent the company's original pledge to its customers; providing pants that "couldn't be pulled apart with two horses."

Fun fact; there used to be a rivet at the bottom of the fly of a pair of jeans. The reason they were taken out? Because workers would kneel around fires at night to keep warm... which would superheat the rivet...yeah, you can see where this goes.

Another fact is that jeans starting becoming made for women as well in the 1930s, thanks to an increasing market for clothes for the working class. They also became more like we know them now during World War II, because a lack of textiles meant they couldn't be dyed the same way.

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