The 1950’s
was a decade of the post war boom. The war is over, manufacturing explodes and
advertising begins to focused on teenagers. In 1954, the “denim family is born
and the new fabric once workwear crossed the line into casual wear”
(levistrauss.com). The 501Z overalls are
introduced with a zipper that replaces buttons and the leather logo with the
two horses was replaced with a cardstock because it was too expensive to use
the leather as sales were increasing. Hollywood is responsible for transforming
the once workwear into a rebellious fashion statement. Actors like Marlon
Brando, James Dean, and rock and roll singer Elvis Presley were always seen
wearing their denim. “The 1950’s saw denim banned in some schools,
especially in the East, for being a bad influence. The portrayal of denim-clad
“juvenile delinquents” in movies and on tv which led many school administrators
to prohibit denim in the classroom, fearing that wearing the rebel uniform
would lead students to push against authority in all of its forms”
(levistrauss.com). As well in this era, “The Civil Right movement began to
unfold in the mid 50’s, and ushered in over a decade of boy-cotts, sit-ins, and
marches. Jeans were not only the preferred dress of some activists, but also a
symbol of protest for the movement” (levistrauss.com).  In 1959, “The American National Exhibition
takes place in Moscow at the ‘American Fashion Industries’ presentation. They
start exporting garments to Europe and appoint an export manager.”
(levistrauss.com). When Levi’s made their debut in Russia Soviet officials banned
fabric because it was associate with the Western culture. Teenagers from Europe
would then buy and sell the jean on the black market. During this time Levi
Strauss & Co. created a foundation in their name to correlate with their
charitable giving that they continued with since 1873.  

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