The Me Decade, in Denim Art

Levi Strauss & Co.
March 18, 2014

The early 1970s were all about decorating your favorite jeans and denim jacket, to make these pieces truly yours and a reflection of your personality and your art.  In 1973, Levi Strauss & Co. decided to have fun with this concept and launched the “Levi’s® Denim Art Contest.”

Consumers were invited to send slides of their beaded, sequined, embroidered and otherwise embellished Levi’s® jeans and jackets. A blue ribbon panel of judges looked over the slides: this group included famed designer Rudy Gernreich, photographer Imogen Cunningham, famed artist and musician Alicia Bay Laurel, and Baron Wolman, who was Rolling Stone magazine’s first photographer.

A group of top winners was chosen in early 1974 and Wolman, who owned the publishing house called Squarebooks, printed up a book of all the winners. The jeans, jackets, and shirts went on display at museums all over the United States, and Levi Strauss & Co. also acquired a few pieces for its historical collections.

Take a look at these examples of wearable art from the era known as “The Me Decade.”

Levi Strauss Denim Art 1


Levi Strauss Denim Art 2


Levi Strauss Denim Art 3