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Levi’s Looks Back at How the 501 Jean Changed Japan

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Levi’s has released the fourth installment in the brand’s documentary series celebrating the 501 jean.

The first three episodes of the film debuted in March, partially as an homage to the 100-year-anniversary of the Golden Handshake, the initial collaboration between Levi’s and Cone Denim Mills. The release date of the latest episode also marks an important date, May 20, 2016, the 143rd anniversary of the patent for blue jeans.

Denim first became popular in Japan in the 1950s when Hollywood movies and rock n’ roll became wildly popular in the country, affecting teens and changing the ways they wanted to dress.

Though Levi’s were instantly popular in Japan, it was difficult to get them there, so Americana fans brought them back, creating a surging market. Collectors learned how to identify the age of the jeans through the smallest details, making this obscure knowledge a cultural phenomenon.

“The Japanese have taken Americana; they’ve somehow managed to do it better,” said Erik Brunetti, founder of brands Fuct and SSDD.

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