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‘Levi Strauss: A History of American Style’ Exhibit to Open in San Francisco Museum

Levi Strauss & Co.’s rich history will soon be on display in its hometown of San Francisco.

The Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco will open the “Levi Strauss: A History of American Style” exhibition next year, a collection of more than 150 items tied to the brand’s founding story. The exhibition will represent the largest public display of the company’s archival materials ever assembled.

The exhibition will include vintage clothing, promotional materials and items amassed as part of founder Levi Strauss’s story, which stretches back to the Gold Rush of 1853.

Starting with the company’s foundation as “purveyors of waist overalls” for gold miners, the exhibition follows the evolution of Levis Strauss & Co., from being a seller of durable workwear, to becoming a symbol of the American West, to its role in youth culture, music and film.

“This exhibition tells the distinctly American story of Levi Strauss—a Jewish immigrant, businessman, and philanthropist whose lifelong commitment to family and civic life were fundamental to the history of San Francisco,” the museum noted. The exhibition will be open from Feb. 13 to Aug. 9, 2020.

From history to fashion, the story of Levi Strauss has wide-reaching appeal.

In September 2000, the Birth House of Levi Strauss Jeans Museum opened in Strauss’s hometown of Buttenheim, Germany, to showcase the struggles of a German immigrant in America as well as the boom of the textile industry. Using short films, moving graphics and a collection of early denim pieces, the museum helps tell the story of how Strauss created his iconic blue jeans and built an international legacy.

And in 2016, Levi’s worked with London’s Victoria & Albert on “You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-70,” an exhibition that explored the 1960s culture of rebellion as told through music and its influence on politics and fashion—which featured staple pieces like the Levi’s 501 and 505 jeans from that time period.