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Levi’s Is Releasing a Pivotal Pair of Jeans, Willy Wonka Style

In celebration of 501 Day, the official day of Levi’s’ anniversary, the jeans’ iconic Red Tab will be wrapped in golden foil with a secret surprise inside.

Levi’s is getting ready to celebrate 501 Day on May 20 with a handful of releases and live performances in store. Among them is a very special jean, released Willy Wonka style under the brand’s reproduction label, Levi’s Vintage Clothing.

The jeans in question are based on a pivotal year for the brand’s trademark Red Tab. In 1971, Levi’s updated the Red Tab on its jeans from ‘LEVI’S’ to ‘LeVI’s’. Vintage fans refer to the former as the Big “E” tab and it’s the point at which vintage pairs start to leap in price. But the switch was gradual and 1971 saw both capital and minuscule versions on shelves. So, Levi’s is paying homage to this particular year in its history with a historically accurate reproduction of the original ’71 501 jeans.

As with most limited drops from the vintage sub-label, this one has a limited release and is restricted to just 501 pairs worldwide. But, the catch is only 5 of them will have Red Tabs with the Big E. Each pair of 1971 501s will come with Red Tabs wrapped in golden foil and you’ll have to unwrap it yourself to see if you’re a winner. And while you might not get an acid-soaked tour of the blue jeans factory led by Levi Strauss himself (and definitely not the keys to the factory), you do get to say that your Red tab on your jeans is in all caps. That, and your lucky Levi’s will probably fetch a hefty price on eBay.

The jeans come with a commemorative tote bag as well as a golden ticket certificate which deems the jeans authentic. If you’re wondering, yes, the certificate does bear resemblance to the ticket from Willy Wonka, which was also released in 1971.

The 1971 Golden Ticket 501 jeans, priced at $500, will hit the Levi’s website and select stores in America and Japan on May 20 while Europe gets its release on June 4.

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