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kottke.org posts about Levi’s

Short documentary film on the history of Levi’s 501 jeans

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 01, 2016

Levi’s made a short documentary film about the history and cultural impact of the brand’s signature 501 jeans.

We trace the 501 Jean’s roots as a utilitarian garment for coal miners, cowboys, industrial workers, all the way to the creative workers who continue to wear it today.

Google and the amazing touch-sensitive dreampants

posted by Jason Kottke   May 29, 2015

Google just announced Project Jacquard, an effort to introduce interactivity into textiles. Swipe your sofa cushion to change the channel on your TV,1 tap a special “knock” on your collar to unlock your front door, or control your party’s playlist with a few taps of your pants.

Update: Google and Levi’s are collaborating on a jacket that uses the Project Jacquard technology. They announced the collaboration last year:

With the Levi’s Commuter jacket, introduced in 2016, the technology comes to life through a conductive fabric and a Bluetooth device that attaches to the garment. The connected area consists of 15 threads on the left sleeve, just visible enough for you to know where to touch to trigger actions from a paired smartphone.

They just announced the price and availability: $350 and fall 2017.

  1. Perhaps this is what Steve Jobs meant when he said of the Apple TV, “I finally cracked it”?

Levi’s (sponsored by America)

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 28, 2009

This is a 36-second wax cylinder recording of Walt Whitman reading a few lines from his poem, America. You may recognize the recording from its use in Levi’s new ad campaign:

I thought for sure that Ryan McGinley had directed this and the O Pioneers! commercial but it turns out he just (just!) did the photos for the print campaign. (via slate)

Update: The audio clip used in that commercial might not be Whitman after all. From the inbox:

The Walt Whitman recording that is being used by the Levi’s commercial that you posted on the 28th is actually not Whitman, and is now considered by most audio archivists to be a hoax.

More information about this most interesting recording can be found in Vol. X, No. 3 of Allen Koenigsberg’s Antique Phonograph Monthly magazine from 1992, pages 9-11.

Among things pointed out, one is that the speech on the soundtrack ends with the quote, “Freedom Law and Love,” whereas the original printed version of the poem ends with “Chair’d in the adamant of Time.”

Koenigsberg also points out that Whitman’s last years were chronicled on a daily basis by his personal secretary, and being wheelchair-bound, such a visit for Whitman would have been difficult, unprecedented, and undoubtedly noted.

(thx, jack)