Levi’s 501 Jeans Celebrate 150 Years with ‘The Greatest Story Ever Worn’

“I was intrigued by the challenge to create little stories in a mini format that together tell an even bigger story.”

This year Levi’s 501 jeans celebrate 150 years as a global style icon and the original template for jeans that followed. The 501 Original has been worn by millions of creative and influential individuals, from risk-takers and changemakers to thinkers and icons, throughout its history.

To commemorate the countless stories – from “the mundane to the momentous” – of fans in their 501 jeans, Levi’s is launching “The Greatest Story Ever Worn” campaign. As part of the launch of the year-long campaign in collaboration with Droga5, Levi’s is releasing three short films, directed by Martin de Thurah and Melina Matsoukas that explore original stories from around the world celebrating 150 years of 501 jeans.

The creative drive of the campaign was to celebrate the jeans’ “incredible past and its role in countless historical, cultural, and personal moments in order to inspire a new generation to write the next chapter,” the brand said.


The first historically based film, “Precious Cargo,” shares the story of how 501 jeans made their way to Kingston, Jamaica in the 1970s and how Jamaica turned and made them uniquely their own. Directed by Melina Matsoukas and shot by academy award nominated cinematographer Bradford Young, the film is “a celebratory exploration of an island that’s distinct style, rhythm and soul has reverberated across the globe,” the brand said.

“Few products, let alone pieces of clothing, have been as consistently present for so many human experiences, for as long as the 501,” said Chris Jackman, VP of Brand Marketing, Levi’s.

“Early Levi’s spots were some of the pieces that actually inspired me to pursue commercial filmmaking. It is an honor to now be part of their cinematic legacy. I always gravitate toward brands and creatives who lean into authentic storytelling and, with this piece, we were able to pay homage to a small but powerful story from the vast history of Levi’s. Everyone involved was willing to push the idea of commerciality and I believe that courage led to us creating a beautiful film.” – Melina Matsoukas


The second film, Fair Exchange, tells the story of a beloved family bellcow and the son who swapped the beast for a pair of 501 Jeans, much to his family’s dismay. Directed by Martin de Thurah and shot by acclaimed cinematographer Kasper Tuxen, a cold Georgian winter is the backdrop to a film that explores 501 jeans as a beacon for something bigger – a dream.

Finally, the third film, Legends Never Die, tells the true story of one devoted Levi’s wearer who requested to be buried in his 501 jeans – a final wish that many people have relayed to the brand over the years, it said.

“I was intrigued by the challenge to create little stories in a mini format that together tell an even bigger story. Levi’s is an iconic brand and being able to celebrate the 150th anniversary alongside my favorite people was a wonderful opportunity.” – Martin de Thurah

The launch of The Greatest Story Ever Worn kicks off the celebration of the 501 jeans’ 150th anniversary. More stories will be shared throughout 2023 along with milestone celebrations around the world.

Film Credits:

Creative concept and direction: Droga5

Directors: Melina Matsoukas and Martin de Thurah

Photographer: Jason Nocito

Stylist: Mobolaji Dawodu

Harold Henry

Harold Henry

Quite the personality, a regular contributor, and we like to keep him around.

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