Calling all Levi’s lovers: the legendary denim brand is celebrating 150 years of the 501 jeans. That’s a century and a half of cool kids the world over walking around in a pair of the comfiest, highest quality, most trend-transcending jeans you can get your hands on.
To mark the occasion, Levi’s has created a series of events across the UK, North America, Europe and Asia, all of which thread together music and fashion. First up: the 501® Experience, a programme of immersive installations and performances in London, with a focus on soundsystem culture.
Until 21st May, a pop-up featuring a bespoke Levi’s soundsystem and dub console will be open to the public on Brick Lane in East London. Its launch event this week was headlined by jungle pioneer Congo Natty, aka Rebel MC. Zema, Shy One and Eve Lazarus were also on the bill, which was curated by Don Letts. “In the 21st century, soundsystem culture has grown to a global phenomenon, just like the iconic 501,” Letts says.
On the 501s’ actual birthday, this Saturday (21st May), Levi’s has also collaborated with festival Rolling Loud – given hip-hop itself is celebrating its 50th anniversary this weekend, it couldn’t be more fitting for Levi’s and the world’s premier rap festival to link up.
In London, UK rap royalty Little Simz will take over KOKO alongside drill stars Unknown T and K‑Trap. On the same date, more Levi’s and Rolling Loud events will be happening in parallel in Paris (Headie One), Tokyo (Lil Tecca) and Oakland (Kehlani) and Levi’s has even designed exclusive merch for each event.
“No festival brings together more people to celebrate the culture of hip-hop than Rolling Loud, and no piece of fashion has been as central to hip-hop as the 501® jeans,” says Mark Foxton, head global partnerships at Levi’s.
Alongside this holy trinity of festivities, Levi’s will be setting up shop in San Francisco’s historic Skylight at the Armory this weekend for another exclusive pop-up. An extension of the 501® Experience, here’s what’s on the menu: a special archive museum walk-through, the chance to design your own custom pieces and a mini-marketplace to shop in. What better way to bring the 501® Experience home, to the city where its patent was first granted back in 1873? Here’s to another 150 years…
Tickets to Levi’s and Rolling Loud’s 501® Experience are available at rollingloud.com