After being the go-to brand for workers and laborers across the globe, Levi Strauss & Co.’s 501 jeans found itself in the company of a free-spirited sibling – the 505 – released in 1967.
The 505 was born during the Summer of Love when 100,000 people poured into San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood to launch a counterculture movement defined by free love and gender equality as well as communal living. On the East Coast, the movement found support in Greenwich Village, and later at the Woodstock Festival in 1969.
And it is with this rich, countercultural heritage that the Levi’s Strauss brand rolls out the 505 C for Fall 2016 — on the cusp of the 50th anniversary of the original.
The zipper-flied 505 was later popularized in the Seventies by pop artists and musicians such as the Ramones (who donned the jeans for the cover of their legendary self-titled album in 1976) and Debbie Harry (who regularly wore a pair of 505 men’s jeans onstage).
Jonathan Cheung, senior vice president of global design, said the 505 C (the “c” for customized) launch for men and women was partly informed by field research that revealed a surge in consumers buying vintage pairs of 505s, which “offer a lived-in, rocked-in, timeless fit.”
Cheung described the original 505 as the one of the company’s “most popular fits for men and women” who are lured by the jean’s “classic leg style and rigid denim.” With the relaunched and “reimagined” 505 C, the latest interpretation centers on a modernized and “timeless fit” with a “customized, straight-leg feel” designed to “create the perfect slim fit.” The 505 C will be available in a variety of finishes, included distressed and ripped looks.
The 505 C rollout comes at time when Millennials (as well as other demographics) crave authenticity and “vintage revival” is highly embraced. Cheung cites the popularity of shows such as the period series “Vinyl,” which was created by Mick Jagger and Martin Scorsese.
Jennifer Sey, chief marketing officer at Levi Strauss & Co., said the company is “taking inspiration from the rock and roll heritage of this jean to reimagine it for today.”
“It will be marketed in stores and online and in social media,” Sey added. “We’ll celebrate the…history and rock ‘n’ roll attitude of this jean — now cut for today and the next generation of rock stars.”
Distribution will be a global launch this July with price points starting in the U.S. at $98 for both men’s and women’s.