In celebration of 501 Day, Levi’s embraces the Southeast Asian creative spirit with its one of a kind Travelling 501 collection
Next year, Levi’s will kick off the 150th anniversary celebration of the global icon, Levi’s 501 – one that has seen so many iterations over its long and illustrious history.
Levi’s 501 Day Celebrations in Southeast Asia
Mad rhymes and fun times! This was how Singapore kicked off its first-ever 501 Day celebration. Together with homegrown Tanglish rapper and 501 visionary Yung Raja, the 149th birthday bash of the original blue jean was a banging night of live music, retro games and cool customisations.
Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and The Philippines also celebrated in their own way.
Button fly, straight leg, Red Tab may be the foundational blueprint of the Levi’s 501, but each year sees a new, slightly re-interpreted fit of the original 501 to coincide with our current cultural and stylistic moment. This year, to tap into the comfort so many are taking from all things late ‘90s, it’s the Levi’s 501 ‘90s jean. With a more relaxed fit through the seat and leg, this Levi’s 501 perfectly captures that late ‘90s vibe, when looser – and even a little slouchy – meant just the right amount of attitude.
What began as a piece of highly durable workwear by the middle of the 20th century, would become one of the most iconic pieces of clothing ever made. A badge of youthful rebellion, a staple of casual style, and a canvas for creative self-expression – the Original 501 jean is all things to all people which is what makes it so ideal for customisation. But most of all, it is a catalyst that changed the way we think about clothes. It helped us understand that a single item could be the launchpad for a person’s signature style.
The Travelling 501 perfectly embodies the spirit of the original in that whether it’s worn painted and customised, ‘80s-style faded and slim, ripped-up and baggy a la ‘90s grunge, or “borrowed” dad-style, the Levi’s 501 transcends trends and has long signified effortless cool across generations. The Travelling 501 however, emphasises that it also signifies this across borders.
Levi’s Southeast Asia’s Beloved Visionaries
To celebrate the past, present and future of this globally beloved icon – and to help launch its latest iteration in Asia, the 501 ‘90s – Levi’s has partnered with five visionaries across Southeast Asia who each perfectly embody the spirit of the Original 501 and possess a unique perspective that embraces the change needed to inspire growth and personal evolution.
Featured in the campaign is Indonesian artist and illustrator Diela Maharanie, Malaysian model and embroidery artist Sheena Liam, Singaporean rapper and songwriter Yung Raja, Thai makeup artist extraordinaire turned Thai silk advocate Pearypie, and Filipino model, actress and all-around creative Issa Pressman.
To capture the voice and spirit of Southeast Asia, each visionary will add their flair to a single pair of Original 501 jeans which will travel across five countries from one visionary to another before culminating in the 501 Day event in Thailand, where the final artwork will be revealed to the public.
In Singapore, local visionary Yung Raja is adding some hip-hop flair to the campaign, bringing his avant-garde lyrics and boundary-pushing music to the campaign, with the aim of sharing about his culture and his background to The Travelling 501.
Based in the cosmopolitan city of Singapore, Yung Raja’s work aims to reinvent societal views in and out of his homeland, inspire the next generation of cultural conservators, and elevate Southeast Asian hip hop to world-class stages through his music. Inspired by his love for Tamil movies and floral motives, Yung Raja will be adding some colour to the Levi’s 501, combining his love for both fashion and art to create something wonderful to celebrate self-expression on 501 Day.
The New 501 ‘90s Jean
“With denim, nostalgia can be a source of both comfort and style. Having that favourite worn-in pair of jeans from the past is what we aim to capture with the new 501 ‘90s jean–it taps into that vintage look & feel, but it’s been made fresh and modern for today. It’s inspired by the way people were wearing our 501s in the late ‘90s. A bit more relaxed, midrise, with just the right amount of bagginess in the leg – easy, effortless and cool.” – Karyn Hillman, Chief Product Officer, Levi Strauss & Co.
Since 1873, the Levi’s 501 has never gone out of style. And it never will.