Sunday, January 22, 2012


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Levi Strauss & Co. spans more than five generations of American and global culture. As a company, weve seen the world go from horse drawn carriages to the electric car, from the chaos of war to space, peace, independence and freedom, and from the telegraph to speed of light Internet communications.

In 00, Levi Strauss & Co. will be 150 years old! We can proudly say that LS&CO. makes the only garment created in the 1th century that is still worn today. And we still have the same youthful, attitude. This is our legacy and gift to the future. As you go through our site and read more about our astonishing history, stop a moment to think about a young, immigrant merchant named Levi Strauss, who started it all.

1th Century



Levi Strauss is born in Buttenheim, Bavaria.


Levi Strauss, his two sisters and mother sail for America, where they join half-brothers Jonas and Louis in New York. Levi joins their dry goods business.


Levi becomes an American citizen and sails to San Francisco to set up a small dry-goods house, which grows into a prosperous business over the next twenty years.

Levi Strauss opens his wholesale dry-goods business on California Street near the San Francisco waterfront. It moves to a number of locations over the next 15 years.


Levi Strauss donates $5 to a San Francisco orphanage only one year after arriving in the city to open his dry-goods business. This is equivalent to approximately $100 U.S. and begins the companys tradition of sharing its prosperity with the community.


LS&CO. headquarters are at 14-16 Battery Street, where they remain for 40 years.


Jacob Davis, a Reno Nevada tailor, writes to Levi Strauss, telling him of the process he invented to rivet the pocket corners on mens pants. He suggests the two men take out a patent on the process together.


Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis receive the patent for rivets on mens pants. They begin making copper riveted waist overalls (the old name for jeans) in San Francisco. The denim comes from the Amoskeag Mill in New Hampshire.


Levi Strauss donates funds to endow 8 scholarships at the University of California, Berkeley. These scholarships are still in place today. He also gives money to the California School for the Deaf and supports other local charities.


Levi Strauss dies at the age of 7. His nephews inherit the business.

Levi Strauss will contains a number of bequests to Bay Area charities which serve children and the poor.


The earthquake and fire destroy the headquarters and two factories of Levi Strauss & Co. The company extends credit to its wholesale customers so they can get back on their feet and back in business. Employee salaries are continued, and temporary headquarters and a showroom are opened in order to keep employees working. A new factory is built at 50 Valencia Street, and new headquarters are erected on Battery Street.


Simon Davis, son of Jacob Davis and the superintendent of the Valencia Street factory, invents Koveralls, a one-piece play suit for children.


LS&CO. receives the Highest Award for waist overalls at the Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. The company begins to purchase denim from Cone Mills in North Carolina.


Walter A. Haas Sr. joins the company.


A factory is opened in Frankfort, Indiana to make Koveralls, the first product sold nationally.


During this decade, the assembly-line technique is adopted at the Valencia Street and Frankfort factories. In addition, the climate for selling denim products is unfavorable; the price of cotton drops sharply, rendering cotton garments subject to price reduction. Despite this, Walter Haas Sr. maintains the companys $5,000 advertising budget, as he feels advertising (in the form of billboards and painted signs) is crucial to the success of the waist overalls.


Daniel Koshland joins LS&CO.


Sigmund Stern, nephew of Levi Strauss, becomes President of LS&CO. His brother Jacob, who took over as President after Levis death in 10, is named Chairman of the Board.


Bonuses are given to the workers at the Valencia Street factory, possibly a first in the apparel industry.


The company registers the word Levis® as a trademark.

Sigmund Stern dies and Walter Haas Sr. becomes President.


The Depression strikes and the demand for products declines. Workers at the Valencia Street facility are put on a short work week to avoid layoffs, and others are given non-manufacturing tasks such as laying the hardwood floors that are still in use today. At the same time, the company adopts the cowboy as its advertising and image-building icon, associating the rugged individualism of the cowboy (and his Hollywood counterpart) with the famous 501® waist overalls.


LS&CO. creates Lady Levis® the companys first blue jean for women.


Walter Haas, Jr. joins LS&CO


During World War II, the design of waist overalls is changed due to government mandates regarding the conservation of raw materials. U.S. soldiers wear their Levis® jeans and jackets overseas, giving the products their first international exposure.

African-American workers at the companys California plants work in integrated facilities.


Peter Haas Sr. joins LS&CO.


LS&CO. discontinues its wholesale business in order to concentrate on manufacturing.


The Levi Strauss Foundation is formed to coordinate the companys charitable giving.


Lighter Blues casual slacks and the Denim Family line mark the companys entry into the sportswear business.

An Army colonel on an American base in Frankfurt, Germany bans military wives from wearing blue jeans, saying it reflects poorly on the U.S.


Daniel Koshland succeeds Walter Haas Sr. as President.


Levis® jeans are chosen for the American Pavilion at the Worlds Fair in Brussels.

Walter Haas Jr. becomes President.


Levis® jeans are exhibited at the American Fashion Industries Presentation in Moscow.

The company begins exporting garments to Europe and appoints an Export Manager


LS&CO. opens its first southern plant. Located in Blackstone, Virginia, the company insists from its inception that the facility be integrated. This occurs before desegregation is mandated by federal law.


Clothing is exhibited in Paris by our French distributor.


LS&CO. receives President Kennedys E award for significant contributions to the United States export program.

Levi Strauss Europe is established.


Pre-shrunk Levis® jeans are introduced.


STA-PREST slacks �the first wrinkle free products � are introduced. Levis® jeans become part of the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institution.


Levi Strauss International and Levi Strauss Far East are established, beginning the companys expansion into Europe and Asia.


The company airs its first television commercial.


Levis® jeans are exhibited in Moscow, Prague and Warsaw.

Rock groups such as The Jefferson Airplane and Paul Revere and the Raiders record radio commercials for Stretch Levis® and White Levis®.


The Community Affairs department is established, formalizing the companys philanthropic efforts.


LS&CO. introduces bell bottoms into its jeans line.

LS&CO. renovates the Valencia Street plant and the surrounding areas, creating a community gathering place and contributing to the improvement of the community.

Peter Haas Sr. becomes President


Corduroy and polyester round out the companys line of products.

The first Community Involvement Teams are formed at the headquarters office.


LS&CO. becomes a public corporation, and includes a statement of its values in its prospectus.

Levi Strauss Japan is established, marking the companys first official entry into the Asian marketplace.


LS&CO. establishes the Minority Purchasing Program.


Bob Haas joins the company.


Company headquarters move to a large office complex at Embarcadero Center in San Francisco.


A formal program is created at headquarters to assist LS&CO. employees when they retire from the company


Robert Grohman becomes President and Chief Executive Officer.


The Levi Strauss Foundation makes its first matching gifts to the Kaposi Sarcoma Clinic at San Francisco General Hospital.


AIDS support groups are first formed at headquarters.

The first Original Levis Stores® are opened in Europe (in Spain). Within eight years there are 57 stores throughout northern and eastern Europe.


LS&CO. is the official outfitter of the U.S. Olympic Team and the Los Angeles Games staff.

The 501® Blues television campaign is launched at the Olympic Games, leading to a resurgence in sales of the 501® jeans.

LS&CO. receives the Lawrence A. Wien Prize in Corporate Social Responsibility.

Bob Haas becomes President and Chief Executive Officer.


LS&CO. wins the Governors Committee Media/Advertising Award from the New York State Office of Advocates for the Disabled, for its positive portrayals of disabled people in the 501® Blues television ads.

LS&CO. completes the largest leveraged buyout in the apparel industry and the company becomes private again.


Dockers® Khakis are introduced in the United States. The company holds its first auction of celebrity-decorated denim jackets to benefit AIDS research and education at Barneys in New York.


The Mission and Aspirations Statement is crafted, beginning the process of creating a more empowered workforce, dedicated to excellence and open to change.


LS&CO. receives Harvards Dively Award for Corporate Public Initiative.


LS&CO. receives the German Apparel Supplier of the Year award, the first non-German and the first jeans company to win the award.


Project Change, an initiative to fight institutional racism in LS&CO. communities, is launched.

The first Original Levis Stores® are opened in the United States, in Columbus Ohio.


LS&CO. adopts the first known set of comprehensive standards for manufacturing and finishing contractors worldwide, dealing with wages, hours, working conditions, ethics and the environment.

LS&CO. becomes the first Fortune 500 company to offer full medical benefits to the unmarried partners of its employees.

Levi Strauss North America is formed to better coordinate the strategies and needs of the business in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.


Business Ethics magazine names LS&CO. as one of three companies to win its Excellence in Ethics award.

Due to positive changes in South Africa, LS&CO.s South Africa Policy Group recommends that the company modify its policy to consider doing business in that country (if free, fair, non- racial elections have been held and a Government of National Unity has been installed).

LS&CO. offices in Europe help underwrite a major photojournalistic exploration of the impact of living with AIDS.


Levis® Dockers® are introduced in Europe.

Fortune magazine names Levi Strauss & Co. the most admired apparel company.

Vista magazine chooses LS&CO. as one of 50 U.S. companies providing the best career opportunities for Hispanic women. The magazine especially noted LS&CO. for its appointment of Patricia Salas Pineda to its Board of Directors. Pineda receives the magazines Corporate Achievement Award.

Employees at the Customer Service Center in Canton, Miss., are honored by the White House and Congress for their volunteer work in support of children and families in the Jackson and Canton communities.

Original Levis Stores® around the globe participate in World AIDS day.


Dockers® Khakis, invented in Japan ten years earlier as Docker Pants, are re-introduced to Japanese consumers.

LS&CO. places No. 1 among apparel firms for the third year in a row and No. 16 overall in Fortune magazines annual list of Americas most admired corporations.

Hispanic magazine names LS&CO. among the top 100 companies that provide the most opportunities for Hispanic employees.

Carl von Buskirk, President, LS Europe, signs a charter confirming that the affiliate does not - and will not - discriminate against employees with HIV or AIDS. The charter is issued by the Belgian government and signed by representatives of seven European companies.

LS&CO. launches its first site on the Web at www.levi.com.

Levi Strauss Japan sponsors the Rolling Stones Voodoo Lounge tour.

Clayman becomes LS&CO.s first global commercial for the Levis® brand and runs in countries on all five continents.


LS&CO. introduces the Slates® brand, a new line of mens dress pants.

Levis® Vintage Clothing is introduced globally. LVC is a line of authentic reproductions of clothing from the Levi Strauss & Co. Archives.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change presents LS&CO. with the 16 Management Award. The Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE), which represents several LS&CO. owned-and-operated manufacturing facilities, made the award nomination in recognition of the unique partnership between LS&CO. and UNITE.


LS&CO. receives the Organizational Award for a Large Business from the Centers for Disease Control.

The company also receives the Quality of Life Award from Auburn University.


LS&CO. celebrates the 15th anniversary of the invention of jeans.

Levi Strauss & Co. receives the first Ron Brown Award for Corporate Leadership. CEO Bob Haas accepts the award for the company at a White House ceremony conducted by President Clinton. LS&CO. is honored with this award for Project Change (see 11).


Slates® brand is relaunched to offer modern, intelligent style.

Philip Marineau becomes the new President and Chief Executive Officer of Levi Strauss & Co.

Bob Haas becomes Chairman of the Board.

A flagship Original Levis Store® opens on San Franciscos Union Square.

The Presence and Publicity Department expands the companys sponsorship of music events, such as Lauryn Hills Miseducation tour and the MTV Video Music Awards.


LS&CO. introduces Levis® Engineered Jeans™, the reinvention of jeans for the 1st century.

LS&CO. named No. in Fortunes Americas Best Companies for Minorities.

Levi Strauss & Co. sponsors DAngelo and Christina Aguilera concert tours.


Levi Strauss & Co. will celebrate the 150th anniversary of its founding and the 10th anniversary of the invention of blue jeans by Levi Strauss & Jacob Davis.

Bob Haas is the Chairman of Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&CO.) and the great-great-grandnephew of the companys founder, Levi Strauss.

Haas, 61, was named chairman in 18 and served as chief executive officer from 184 to 1. As CEO, Haas was instrumental in leading the company through a business turnaround that resulted in more than a decade of rapid sales growth and profit expansion. He led the successful effort to take the company private through a leveraged buyout in 185. In addition, he oversaw the creation of the Dockers® and Slates® brands, and spearheaded the companys substantial international development.

Haas joined LS&CO. in 17. He has served as marketing director and group vice president of Levi Strauss International, director of corporate marketing development, senior vice president of corporate planning and policy, president of the operating groups and executive vice president and chief operating officer of the company.


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