Mayor London Breed, Chip Bergh holding the Proclamation, Michelle Gass

May 20 Is “Levi’s® 501® Day” in San Francisco

Levi Strauss & Co.
May 19, 2023

This week is one for the history books for Levi Strauss & Co. as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the 501® jean on Saturday and 170 years as a company later this year.

On Thursday, May 18, we officially opened the Levi’s® 501® Experience at Skylight at the Armory in San Francisco, an immersive pop-up activation designed to honor both the beloved 501® jean and the brand’s long-standing association with its birth city. To mark the milestone, San Francisco’s City Hall was cast in indigo blue Thursday night.

San Francisco City Hall lit up in blue at dusk

Among the pop-up’s distinguished guests was San Francisco Mayor London Breed, who made a very special announcement at the event: she proclaimed May 20 as “Levi’s® 501® Day” in San Francisco. The formal proclamation cited the longevity of the 501® jean, the company’s longstanding ties to San Francisco and LS&Co.’s abiding commitment to its profits through principles philosophy.

“Levi Strauss & Co. is a cornerstone of fashion in San Francisco and beyond, and today we are proud to celebrate 501® Day to mark the 150th anniversary of the iconic jeans that have become an emblem of our pioneering spirit,” said Mayor Breed. “San Francisco is proud to be the home and birthplace of a legendary brand that shares our dedication to innovation, sustainability and social responsibility. As we honor their rich history in our city, from their founding in 1853 during the Gold Rush, through the 1906 earthquake, to today, we look forward to another 170 years of success and partnership with Levi Strauss & Co.”

“It is an incredible honor to have May 20 recognized as Levi’s® 501® Day in our hometown,” said LS&Co. President and CEO Chip Bergh. “This proclamation is a testament to the durability of our products and our longstanding presence in San Francisco. This city took in Levi Strauss and helped him grow his business. And it continues to be a focal point for innovation, creativity and authentic self-expression of all kinds. All of this helped make Levi Strauss & Co. and the Levi’s® 501® jean what it is today. I want to thank Mayor Breed, as well as all of our employees, past and present, who have been part of our history.”

LS&Co. is proud to be part of the fabric of this city’s past, present and future, and of our continued commitment to the communities of this city and everywhere we operate. To learn more, visit the Levi’s® 501® Experience, open to the public now through May 27.

Read the full proclamation below:

WHEREAS, the City and County of San Francisco traditionally recognizes organizations that have made significant and remarkable contributions to the vitality of our City, and the invaluable work of Levi Strauss & Co. represent San Francisco values at their best; and

WHEREAS, established in San Francisco in 1853 by Bavarian immigrant Levi Strauss during the California Gold Rush, Levi Strauss & Co. began as a dry goods wholesale business serving retailers of the American West; and

WHEREAS, Levi Strauss & Co. and Jacob Davis sought to create stronger pants for workers and were granted U. S. Patent #139,121 on May 20, 1873 by the U.S. Patent Office for riveted pants, marking the birth of the modern blue jean in the form of Levi’s® 501®; and

WHEREAS, Levi Strauss & Co. has remained in San Francisco since its founding and has shared in our City’s history, from the 1906 earthquake and fire which destroyed its headquarters, through both World Wars, the Great Depression, the Summer of Love and the rise of Silicon Valley; and

WHEREAS, as a testament to its “Profits Through Principles” values as described by former CEO and Great-Great Grand Nephew of Levi Strauss, Bob Haas, Levi Strauss & Co. has demonstrated a distinguished history of civic and philanthropic involvement in San Francisco and beyond, from operating integrated factories decades ahead of civil rights legislation to becoming the first Fortune 500 company to offer domestic partner benefits to its same sex partner employees; and  

WHEREAS, the Levi’s® 501® jean was named Time magazine’s Fashion Item of the 20th Century; and has become one of the most worn garments around the world with “San Francisco, California” and “S.F., CA” printed on the buttons, back patch, and rivets on every pair of Levi’s ® 501® jeans; and

WHEREAS, for over 150 years, the Levi’s® 501® jean has become one of the most enduring, iconic and influential pieces of clothing in modern history, starting out as a humble uniform for workers that turned into a symbol of progress, an icon of freedom, and a garment worn by rebels, presidents, cowboys, tech luminaries and everyday people alike; and

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that I, London N. Breed, Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco, in recognition of Levi Strauss & Co., on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Levi’s® 501® jean do hereby proclaim May 20, 2023 as…

Levi’s® 501® Day

in San Francisco!