17 de julio de 2011


LEVI'S make the most famous and popular trousers in the world. They are made of very strong cotton which originally came from Nimes in France. 'De Nimes' became denim. Levi Strauss was a German immigrant who arrived in San Francisco in 1853. First, he made tents for gold prospectors. Then, he started to make trousers from the same material. In 1873, Levi's dyed the trousers blue. 

Levi's head­quarters today is still in San Francisco and, in 1993, they sold 50 million pairs of their '501' blue jeans. The company was not always successful. In the 1980s, they had problems but they changed management and, in 1985, Bob Haas became President of the company. With large invest­ment in marketing and advertising, Levi's relaunched the original 501 jeans. The campaign was a huge success. In Great Britain the advertising was so successful that sales of 501 jeans rose by 800%! Today, about 16,000,000 pairs of 501 jeans are sold in Western Europe and they are all made in factories in Scotland and France. More than half of Levi's profits come from exports.

The factory in France employs about 540 people who produce 18,000 pairs of jeans per day. With thirty-five factories in the US, Levi's is a major employer, particularly in the South. Unfortunately, because Levi's are such a popular product there are many 'pirate' copies made also. In 1993, for example, police throughout the world found 2,000,000 fake pairs of Levi's jeans. In the future, Levi's hope that more companies will allow casual dress so that sales will rise as office employees start to wear jeans to work. Just what Levi Strauss designed more than one hundred years ago - working trousers!

Levi Strauss, the son of a dry goods salesman, was born in Germany in 1829. When his father died, he emigrated to New York with his mother and sisters, and joined his two elder brothers in their dry goods business. They sent him to San Francisco to sell needles, scissors, buttons and other goods needed for the California Gold Rash. In time, Strauss had established his own successful business. 

One of his customers was a tailor in Reno, Nevada, named Jacob Davis. He bought cloth from Levi Strauss & Co. to make pants for his own customers. One of them was a miner who complained that his pockets were always ripping, so Davis decided to put metal rivets in the pocket corners of the next pair of pants he made for the miner. The pants were a great success, and Davis wrote to Levi Strauss suggesting that the two men take out a patent on the riveting idea and begin to manufacture clothing. Levi agreed and in 1873 the patent was granted.

Levi Strauss & Co. didn't call this product "jeans" until 1960. The word "jeans" comes either from the Italian city of Genoa (where similar pants were worn by sailors) or from an old fabric which was very like denim also known as "jean". Jeans were very popular in the 1930s due to Western movies, and LS & Co. invented its first jeans for women in 1935. In the 1950s and into 1960s people around the world began to wear Levi's jeans. Today, the annual sales of Levi Strauss & Co. are about $6.7 billion. Blue jeans are the uniform of most people all over the world today.

1. ¿Qué es "denim"?
2. ¿Quién era Levi Strauss?
3. ¿Cómo fabricó los primeros jeans?
4. ¿Cuál es el modelo de jeans más famoso?
5. ¿Por qué se les llama jeans?
6. ¿Por que se hicieron populares?
7. ¿Cuántas versiones conoces en castellano de la palabra jeans?

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