Report from the Ranch: A Captive Audience

Levi Strauss & Co.
April 25, 2014

So what do you do with two dozen fashion editors that you have corralled at a dude ranch to celebrate the first women’s jeans? For one thing, you sit them down after lunch for a lecture by the company Historian about the history of Lady Levi’s® jeans.

That was my happy duty this week. Standing behind a table covered with vintage jeans, advertising, and magazines (wearing a cowboy hat because of the strong sun and breezy conditions), I told the story of how Levi Strauss & Co. realized that women needed a jean of their own back in 1934, and created Lady Levi’s® jeans, Lot 701. Using my favorite pair from 1937 – worn by a woman named Harriet Atwood at another Arizona dude ranch – I brought to life how women were denied the pleasure of wearing jeans until our feminine fitting pants came along. I then told them about the first mention of the jeans in Vogue  magazine in 1935, and brought them up to the 1960s, when Lady Levi’s® jeans quietly faded from our product selection in favor of the new flares and bell bottoms that teenage girls craved.   After my talk, the editors swarmed the table to take photos, and ask questions.

Many of the editors had just come back from the traditional dude ranch morning activity: a trail ride. And after lunch, others were on their way to a different kind of range, to learn how to shoot “skeet:” clay disks flung into the air and then (hopefully) pulverized with a special shotgun. Hilarity ensued when many of the editors realized how hopeless they were, but everyone had a great time.

It was a week of celebrating one of the most iconic and versatile items in every woman’s wardrobe. And at the same time connecting the great heritage of this company with the amazing products you’ll find in stores today. This is why I love my job—mixing old and new, and having a lot of fun while doing so.