Levi’s Creates ‘Stitch-for-Stitch’ Reproduction of the Oldest Pair of Jeans in Its Archives

The 9Rivet blue jeans have received a limited run of just 800 pairs.

Fashion
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As a brand that was founded in 1853, Levi’s has a sprawling collection of archival pieces.

The company began making its still-popular 501 jeans in 1873 and patented its design just two years later. Today, the 501s are regarded as the first pair of blue jeans in history.

Levi’s is paying homage to its origin story – and the garment that got the ball rolling – by recreating its first pair of jeans. While the company was celebrating its 150th anniversary last year, historians set out to locate some of the original Levi’s jeans. At the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, they found a pair of Levi’s that had been donated by the company in the 1960s – the patch on the jeans omitted the 1875 patent date, meaning it had been created beforehand, and was ultimately identified as the first-ever pair of blue jeans.

Unlike its later batches of jeans, the pair contains just nine rivets instead of 11. Levi’s has recreated the jeans “stitch-for-stitch” in an extremely limited “9Rivet” reproduction. Only 800 pairs of the straight-leg 9Rivets jeans have been made, featuring single-stitch construction, one back pocket and exposed rivets. True to its time, the pair also contains a watch pocket sewn into the waistband, along with sewn-on buttons.

“Of the various 1870s blue jeans in the Levi’s Archives, I always suspected 9Rivet was the oldest,” Design Director of Levi’s Vintage Clothing Paul O’Neill said. “After confirming it was in fact the oldest we have, we were thrilled to reproduce all of its quirks and details that collectively capture a unique piece of denim history.”

Beginning on Monday, May 20, the 9Rivet Levi’s will be sold exclusively at the Tsim Sha Tsui Harbour City store in Hong Kong for $3,999 HKD ($513 USD).

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