Storied American jeans maker Levi’s will be the subject of an exhibition opening next year in San Francisco.
“Levi Strauss: A History of American Style,” on view Feb. 13 to Aug. 9, 2020 at The Contemporary Jewish Museum, will be the largest public display of Levi Strauss & Co.’s archival materials ever assembled. Featuring more than 150 items (including vintage apparel and advertising materials, as well as ephemera related to the life of Levi Strauss the man), the exhibition will showcase the story of the Bavarian Jewish dry goods merchant in 19th-century San Francisco, the birth of his iconic blue jeans and its influence on American style and identity, according to press materials.
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The museum’s curators worked with the brand to mine pieces from the Levi Strauss & Co. archives, located at the company’s headquarters in San Francisco.
In 1873, near the end of the Gold Rush, Levi Strauss obtained a U.S. patent with tailor Jacob Davis for the process of putting metal rivets in men’s work pants to increase their durability. Strauss’ civic and philanthropic contributions were fundamental to San Francisco’s municipal development, the exhibition will show, and the trajectory of the brand has reflected the changing American consciousness, from its initial emphasis on 19th-century miners and blue-collar laborers; to its role in crafting the mythology of the American West in the early 20th century, to its impact on the rise of international youth culture in the Sixties and beyond.