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Fade Friday – Vintage Levi’s 501 (60+ years, washes unknown)

Quite a few of the jeans on Fade Friday are based off of vintage clothing, but rarely are they the genuine article. Reader Spencer Arbabi wrote in about a pair of Levi’s 501s he inherited from his great-grandfather in the 1970s.

He isn’t sure of the exact vintage, but based on the leather patch (discontinued in 1955), the stitched back pocket arcuates (they were painted instead of sewn due to war rationing from 1941-1945), and the lack of a buckle-back or crotch rivet (both discontinued after WWII), we can date these jeans to somewhere between 1946 and 1954.

The relatively low contrast fades combined with the lack of blowouts suggest the denim saw quite a few washes. Now these jeans obviously haven’t been worn regularly for the past sixty years, but they way they’ve held up is an testament to the quality of these old products. Have a look at the pics below.


  • Name: Levi’s 501 circa 1946-1954
  • Fabric: Unsanforized 100% cotton redline selvedge denim, most likely from Cone Mills
  • Weight: 12oz.
  • Fit: Straight
  • Other details:
    • Leather back patch
    • Big “E” red tab
    • Hidden back pocket rivets
  • 1947 501 reproduction available for $260 at Brooklyn Denim Co.



Levi’s Vintage Clothing 1947 501







Think your jeans are worthy of Fade Friday fame? Send your pics to [email protected]

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