Tuesday, September 20, 2011

One Month of Denim - Day 20

I'm sick and tired of thinking about writing a post on denim on a daily basis, but as I promised, I will keep doing so, so it's just my good fortune, that we only have 10 days left.
- I'm kidding. I love writing about denim, and I hope it has helped some people out there. But I hope it hasn't made people believe that this blog is all about denim because that is not the case.

In the question the other day, I mentioned something called "Big E" in regards to vintage Levi's jeans. The red tab was introduced in 1936 as mean of identifying a genuine pair of Levi's jeans. Until 1971 one the red tab had LEVI'S written in all capital letters, and after that it was spelled Levi's. This was the end of an era for the most part.
Levi's decided to put the red tab on their jeans because they hadn't trademarked the arcuate on the back pocket by 1936, which meant a lot of competing companies were adding arcuates to their jeans. Wrangler and Lee even had an arcuate that looked VERY similar to the Levi's V-arcuate before they more or less settled on their W- and Lazy-S arcuate.

Levis arcuate (hand sewn) - pre 1936 

Wrangler jeans - 1940's

Lee jeans - 1940s
The arcuate is now conceived as the oldest clothing trademark. It was used by Levi's from the beginning basically, however it has been speculated that they weren't the first to employ it on the back pocket. Although they hadn't trademarked the arcuate by 1936, they did so in 1943.

Fun fact about the arcuate around that time (during the Second World War) is that it was painted on the jeans instead of it being stitched. This was done in an attempt to save on materials including thread.

Levis - painted arcuates - which would wear off in time leaving blank back pockets

In recent times Levi's sued a lot of Japanese denim brands because they used arcuates and red tabs that resembled the ones Levi's use. Read more about the lawsuit here and here on the great Swedish denim blog, Repeat to Fade, which unfortunately seems to be no more.

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