A Look Inside Levi’s Archive Room

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A pair of archive Levi’s jeans.

Previously, we gave you a look at our visit to Levi’s Plaza, where visitors are free to visit The Vault to learn more about Levi’s history. However, we had the honour of being invited into the staff-only archival room where a team works full time to archive and preserve rare Levi’s goods and memorabilia.

To highlight how serious Levi’s views their archive denim, a large fireproof safe inside the room houses numerous pieces that have been carefully packed for storage and can only be handled with clean gloves. To non-denim nerds, that might seem to be a bit extreme to safeguard what some old and worn out jeans, but to collectors vintage jeans from the early century not only contain a unique story in them, but are also considered a historic artefact. Each pair can be traced back to a particular time period due to certain design hallmarks and wear subtleties that will no doubt be familiar to fans of the Levi’s Vintage Clothing range.

Among the rare denim shown to us was a pair known as the “Prisoner Pants”, which a former inmate spent years illustrating on while he was incarcerated. Nothing else is known about him. Much like many pieces of vintage denim, just the garments are left with the imprints of their former owners embedded into them – that person’s “story”, if you will.

Check out the pictorial recap of our time at the Levi’s Plaza and stay tuned for more from the trip.

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Clockwise from top-left: A cut-out standee of Mr. Levi Strauss; Levi’s resident historian showing us some pieces; Wear marks from a horse saddle; The owners name and store purchased from stitched onto the jeans.

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A piece of Levi’s history.

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Note that stains and marks are not cleaned up on archive pieces.

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The “Prisoner Pants”.

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It is said that the inmate took years to complete the jeans.

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Cowboy town.

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Levi’s collector items and memorabilia from over the years.

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Snoopy x Levi’s.

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Before the bandwagon.

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