Levi’s Vintage x Cone Mills
Over the recent years, my love for denim has grown and one of the key historical players in has been Levi’s. In actual fact, the main reason as to why Levi’s became so good was their affiliation with the the best denim supplier of that time – Cone Mills. Cone Denim began in 1891 when brothers Moses and Caesar founded Cone Export & Commission Company in Greensboro, North Carolina, near the eastern foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. In 1905, they established the White Oak Mill, named after a 200-year-old tree on its grounds. This mill would not only set the global standard for quality denim, it would become the world’s most iconic denim mill.
In need of a reputable denim supplier, Levi Strauss & Co. approached Cone, and in 1915 a historic agreement was struck granting Cone Mills the exclusive right to manufacture Levi’s proprietary Shrink-to-Fit denim for the production of all Levi’s Lot 501 Jeans. This Gentleman’s Agreement became known as “The Golden Handshake.”
Today, 100 years later, Levi Strauss & Co. still produces the 501 using Shrink-to-Fit denim from Cone Mills’ White Oak facility in Greensboro. Each weave of the denim that’s made carries the secrets of our long history within its warp and weft. To commemorate the anniversary, Levi’s Vintage Clothing AW15 collection pays special tribute to Cone Mills honouring the centennial of “The Golden Handshake,” the 1915 501 Jean, and the hardworking folk who joined hands to create it.