Months ago, the LS&Co. team in Germany was thinking of ways to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the 501® jean that would honor the product’s legacy and bring employees together.
It didn’t take them long to realize that it was as easy as riding a bike.
Last weekend, fifty employees in Germany hopped on their bikes and rode 150 miles from the LS&Co. home office in Offenbach to Buttenheim, the birthplace of Levi Strauss, to hand deliver an anniversary pair of Levi’s® 501® jeans to the Levi Strauss Museum.
The team was comprised of LS&Co. employees from Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxemburg and the UK, including Lucia Marcuzzo, SVP and managing director of North Europe, as well as five other members of the North Europe Leadership Team, partners, a camera team and bike journalist. Thirteen people completed the full 150-mile ride, while others joined for shorter legs of the journey. The most exciting leg was the last 5.01 miles, where a huge group of families, friends and Buttenheim residents joined the team for the final stretch.
The night before the ride, the team was invited to sleep on mats in the Offenbach showroom and indulge in a pasta party to fuel the trek. Participants then woke up at 4 a.m. to prepare for the 5:01 a.m. start to Buttenheim. The riders were decked out in jerseys from our partner, FC St. Pauli, featuring upcycled denim applications. They also had denim bike bags, race caps and musettes (small bags), all made from recycled 501® jeans made by Hamburg-based social corporation Bridge & Tunnel.
Along the ride, the team fueled up on bars from our partner, Clif Bar, and made stops along the way for rests and more sustenance. Each rider was invited to carry the anniversary edition of the 501® jean in their musette for a portion of the ride and pass it between them like a baton. As of mile 125 the jean was carried in a Cargo Bike — provided by tour partner and bicycle gear manufacturer Bergamont.
Once in Buttenheim, all riders crossed the finish line together in front of the Levi Strauss Museum just a few minutes after 5:01 p.m. They were greeted by 1,000 people and a limited-edition Bavarian-style lager, made special for the anniversary. The riders then gave the jeans to Dr. Tanja Roppelt, head of the Levi Strauss Museum. The pair will have a permanent home in the museum for the next 150 years.
After completing the ride, the riders, residents and guests from all over the region celebrated with live music, food and drinks, complete with a Levi’s® Tailor Shop on-site. The Levi Strauss Museum also showcased a special exhibition, “The Greatest Story Ever Worn — 150 years of Jeans,” which took visitors on a journey through the history of the 501® jean. English denim artist and friend of the brand and the museum, Ian Berry, also showcased his DENIM LEGENDS exhibition, a 33-piece collection of famous faces including Marilyn Monroe, Bob Marley and Andy Warhol. By the end of the weekend, approximately 5,000 visitors had enjoyed the 150th anniversary celebration in Buttenheim.
“We are proud to be part of this unique tour and to personally bring the anniversary jeans to Levi Strauss’ birthplace,” said Lucia Marcuzzo. “As the fashion icon of the century, Levi’s® 501® jeans have a firm place in history, and we want to take this opportunity to say thank you to our fans who have supported us through the years.”
Special thanks to our supporters:
FC St. Pauli