Levi's 646s: The Iconic Denim Put on the Map by Hippie Culture

The Levi’s 646 symbolizes hippies who started the counter-culture movement in the mid-1960s throughout 1970s. The Woodstock Music and Art Fair - the proper name for the infamous Woodstock Music Festival, that took place in Bethel, NY – was essentially a microcosm of the entire hippie movement. It was the largest and most exciting festival attended by hippies held from August 15 through August 18, 1969.

The festival attracted an audience of nearly 500,000 people, easily over the original estimated capacity of 50,000 individuals. Jimi Hendrix, originally billed to play earlier on Sunday, was moved last minute perform as the closer for the festival. Towards the end of his performance, he changed the hand positioning on his guitar and softly started playing music – The U.S. National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner. At that moment, the Sun started to shine brighter behind the stage, creating a sublime and divine scene – a story that has been told and relived by thousands.

Much of the audience at this festival wore bell-bottom jeans. Among these was the most common, Levi’s 646. Hippies studded, embroidered, and painted their jeans – personalizing them for ultimate self-expression. To them, the jeans were their alter egos, and they wanted to make them as unique as they were. They loved their jeans particularly because they symbolized the counter-culture and counter-establishment mantra that the hippies represented. Their ideologies were freedom, equality, and love. And thanks to them, their jeans also won their own identity as the symbol of anti-establishment, anti-government, as well as the anti-corporate activist movement that continues to this day.