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Levi's 501 Interpretations

A unique look at the many ways to wear denim's most legendary style

by Graham Hiemstra in Culture on 31 July 2013

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No matter your preference for denim—be it raw selvedge or dad jeans—it's impossible to ignore the classics. And nobody knows this better than Levi's. To celebrate the 140th anniversary of the 501 jeans—which made their debut in 1873—Levi's will release a limited edition book filled with images of fans and cultural figures, demonstrating 501 different ways to wear a pair of the iconic pants. Available at select flagship stores tomorrow, 1 August, "501 Interpretations" shows there's no wrong way to wear a classic pair of jeans.

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Culled from the huge number of fan-submitted images that have been housed on the 501 dedicated site Levi's launched this past spring, the sizable book presents people from all walks of life in a unifying light. While a good majority of the images are of regular everyday Levi's fans, the book is peppered with more notable names in the worlds of fashion and entertainment. Celebrated photographer Francesco Carrozzini was brought in to capture the denim elite in their favorite pair of 501s, both in typical portrait style and detailed close-ups that leave you guessing who is actually underneath each pair. From Andy Spade's broken down, lived-in jeans to Mark McNairy's pristine raw denim, the images offer a genuine insight into the minds and styles of those who have made a living in fashion, and yet still choose to wear classic Levi's.

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While it's always interesting to see how the influential few wear their denim, the real value in "501 Interpretations" is seeing how the Average Joe does it. The majority of the images are captured in peoples' homes or a natural location of their choosing, setting as many backdrops as there are personal styles. Through this, the reader gains a sense of understanding of who these people are and what Levi's means to them specifically.

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The personable aesthetic of the project speaks to the storied history of the 501 jean itself. As a garment that grew to represent the working class, the jeans by nature are an item of clothing for the common person. As projected in "501 Interpretations," all are equal in a pair of Levi's.

Look to local flagship Levi's stores tomorrow to purchase a copy of the book. But be quick, as only 501 have been printed. And be sure to visit Levis501 for more images.

Studio images by Graham Hiemstra, all others courtesy of Levi's

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