Levi Strauss; History of an Empire Essay example

Submitted By lukebub
Words: 612
Pages: 3

5500

Assignment #2

“I'd much rather be, forever in blue jeans, babe,” Sings Neil Diamond in his hit song “Forever in Blue Jeans” that was released in 1979. Although I would not want to wear a pair of blue jeans forever, this is a prime example of how a very useful product (jeans) has gained major popularity all around the world. On February 26, 1829, Loeb Strauss was born in Bavaria, Germany. Little did his parents know that their newborn son was eventually going to set the standard for work-place clothing and, ultimately, change the face of fashion. Although Strauss had many successes in his life, the journey to his prosperous career was definitely lined with some tragedy and misfortune. Strauss grew up in a large family that included five children. Along with the rest of his family, he experienced some rough times in Bavaria due to his family's religious affiliation. (He and his family were Jewish.) Therefore, they were subjected to special taxes and could live only in certain areas. After the unfortunate death of his father, Loeb and his family moved to the United States to reunite with two of his brothers who already had started lives for themselves in New York City. Loeb began working for his brothers at the dry goods store they owned. When the California Gold Rush came about in 1849, Loeb saw the opportunity that awaited him in the West. He moved out to San Francisco and sold dry goods, clothing, and fabric to small shops in the region. Loeb, who later became known as “Levi,” was the founder and co-creator of the extremely successful product known today as “jeans.” Robert Davis, the other co-creator of the pants with “reinforced rivets,” was originally a customer of Strauss'. But in 1872, Davis wrote to Strauss asking for financial assistance to purchase a patent for a design he had developed, using the fabric that Levi Strauss had sold to him. The design that Davis had created with Strauss's fabric was a pair of pants that included a fly seam and metal rivets on the pockets. These modifications helped make a more durable pair of work pants. After Strauss and Davis acquired the patent a year later (1873), they began producing the extremely durable pair of pants in San Francisco. Initially using canvas, Strauss and Davis switched to a denim fabric and began dying the pants blue allegedly to hide stains. Levi Strauss & Company successfully made “waist overalls,” later known as “jeans,” until 1906, when the headquarters, as well as both of their factories, were destroyed by an…