Levi Strauss began making pants for miners made out of cotton imported from France. Dyed indigo blue with copper rivets at the stress points, the material was known as denim. There are few words that actually define products, “Kleenex” or “Xerox” and these trousers became known as “Levi’s.”
Born in Germany, he immigrated to New York City to join his brothers in 1847 before making his way west in the gold rush where the family business wanted a dry goods store in the hub of the booming marketplace.
Strauss opened his dry goods wholesale business, Levi Strauss & Co. selling clothing, bedding, combs, purses, handkerchiefs shipped in from NYC.
In 1872, Reno tailor, Jacob Davis started making men’s work pants with metal at the stress points for strength. Together, Strauss and Davis received the US Patent for the design.
Levi Strauss died on September 26, 1902 at the age of 73. Never married, he left the business to family and the blue jean has become a rock, work and fashion standard around the globe. It is really hard not to say that the denim jean has defined a global spirt.