Curating the History of Blue Jeans (with Tracey Panek)

Interview with the Levi Strauss & Co. Historian, Tracey Panek

I’ve always considered myself a ‘Levi’s guy.’ I remember the allure of the details of Levi’s jeans, like the red tab and the arcuate, when I started paying attention to my jeans. That was some twenty years ago when I was in my early teens.

In 2013, I was in San Francisco on my honeymoon. And when a denimhead with a blog visits the hometown of the brand that started it all, he has to visit. I was lucky enough to be invited into the company archives, to see some of the historic pieces of their 150,000-item collection.

That’s only a year before Tracey Panek took the reins of the Levi Strauss & Co. Archives, in 2014. Before her, for 25 years since the position was created, the company historian was Lynn Downey.

In this episode of the Denimhunters Podcast, I talk to Tracey about what it is she does there and why it’s such an important department in the Levi’s organisation, and why what she does influences denim and blue jeans from any brand.

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