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Levi’s Launches ‘The Greatest Story Ever Worn’ Campaign Celebrating 150 Years of the 501

2023 marks the 150th anniversary of Levi’s 501 jeans, one of the most iconic pieces of style globally. 501 Original has been worn throughout its 150-year history by change leaders, constant risk-takers, innovators, thinkers, celebrities and millions of other equally courageous and ambitious individuals.

To commemorate the countless stories – from the simplest to the most iconic – of 501 fans, Levi’s is launching The Greatest Story Ever Worn campaign as a year-long celebration. As part of the launch, the brand developed 3 short films, directed by Martin de Thurah and Melina Matsoukas. They explore original stories from around the world that reflect the 150 years of the 501. Stories that celebrate this model’s incredible past, in countless historical, cultural and personal contexts – with the aim of inspiring future generations to create a new chapter.

The Greatest Story Ever Worn presents the 501 jeans as an ever-expanding story, written and rewritten by all who come to discover them. A pair of jeans that not only expresses the story of a person, but the story of everyone who came into contact with it. This ever-expanding narrative is a collection of characters, events, and memories from all kinds of people.

“Few products, let alone garments, have had as constant a presence in people’s lives as the 501. From humble beginnings as work pants, Levi’s 501 jeans have become a tool of self-expression that transcends the boundaries of culture and social classes. This is an incredible moment for the Levi’s brand and through The Greatest Story Ever Worn campaign we aim to celebrate the heritage, unparalleled scale and global relevance of the 501.” – Chris Jackman, VP Brand Marketing, Levi’s.

The first short, Precious Cargo, shares the story of how 501 jeans made their way to Kingston in the 1970s and how Jamaica gave them a unique twist. Directed by Melina Matsoukas and shot by Academy Award-nominated cinematographer Bradford Young, the film is an exploration of an island whose distinct style and rhythm reverberated around the globe.

“Levi’s commercials were some of the creations that actually inspired me to pursue commercial filmmaking. It is an honor to now be involved in bringing their legacy to film. I’ve always been inspired by brands and people who convey an authentic story, and with this short film, we were able to pay tribute to a powerful story from the vast history of Levi’s. Courage led us to create a unique and beautiful film.” – Melina Matsoukas

The second short film, Fair Exchange, depicts the story of a family’s much-loved cow, which ends up being sold in exchange for a pair of 501 jeans by the youngest, much to the dismay of the other family members. Directed by Martin de Thurah and shot by acclaimed cinematographer Kasper Tuxen, a cold Georgian winter is the ideal backdrop for a film that explores how the 501 helps make big dreams come true.

And finally, the third film, Legends Never Die, tells the true story of a devoted Levi’s wearer who asked to be buried in the 501 – a last wish many people have given the brand to over the years. This fan asked all attendees to wear 501 jeans to the funeral. Also directed by Martin de Thurah, the film is a reflection on the collective love that inspires a group of people to pay their respects to a loved one, for the last time. More than that, it’s a celebration of humanity and the inextricable connection between a man and Levi’s 501 jeans.

“I was intrigued by the challenge of transposing mini stories that together create a unified whole. Levi’s is an iconic brand and celebrating 150 years of an iconic model with my favorite people was a wonderful opportunity.” – Martin of Thurah

The launch of The Greatest Story Ever Worn campaign is the start of the celebration of 150 years of 501 jeans. More stories will be shared throughout 2023.

Watch two of the films here:

Precious Cargo:

Legends Never Die:


Concept and creative direction: Droga5

Directors: Melina Matsoukas and Martin de Thurah

Photographer: Jason Nocito

Stylist: Mobolaji Dawodu

About Levi Strauss & Co.:

Levi Strauss & Co. is one of the largest branded clothing companies in the world and a global leader in the production of jeans. The company designs and markets jeans, casual wear and related accessories for men, women and children under the Levi’s, Dockers, Signature by Levi Strauss & Co. brands. and Denizen. Brand products are for sale