Red, Orange and Silver: A Guide To Levi's Tabs

With many different Levi’s Tabs pinned to the back of these iconic denim beauties, it’s got many of us wondering, what the hell do these really mean? Now I’m sure it’s crossed your mind, are they counterfeit? Are these super rare? Well, we’re gonna walk you through and tell you all about these little tags and what they mean. Grab yourself a nice cold drink and put your feet up!

Vintage levi's jeans adverts Image Credit: Levi's & Pinterest

The Red Levi's Tab

The most iconic and notable Tab has to be Levi's Red Tab. The idea was born after Levi’s patent expired in 1890 and saw major competitors replicating their iconic denim. Growing frustrated with the similarities in thousands of dupes the then National Sales Manager Chris Lucier came up with the idea of placing “a folded cloth ribbon in the structural seam of a rear patch pocket.” Hence the Levi’s Red Tab was born.

Throughout time, there have been several variations of the iconic red Tab. The easiest way to think of these are little timestamps in history. The 50s saw the red Tab with Levi's logo printed on both sides with the logo capitalized. The 70s saw a less shouty version which has become the one we all know and love today!

Sometimes mistaken as a knock off or a manufacturing fault blank red tabs with only a registered trademark symbol have been spotted circulating around. Fear not though, these are totally legit! As the Levi’s Tab is often copied, the company has to produce a batch of denim jeans with the plain red Tab to show that they own the Tab and not just Levi's name on it!

Two Vintage Levi's adverts Image Credit: Levi's & Pinterest

The Orange Levi's Tab

As Levi’s empire expanded and more fashion styles started coming out, they needed some way to differentiate the different styles of denim. In comes the Orange Tab, used in the 60s to separate the fashion clothing from the workwear pieces. The Orange Tab often reflects a more experimental shape to the garment. Early orange Tabs are sometimes considered a collectable, so grab your hands on them while you can!

Two 70s Levi's for Gal adverts Image Credit: Levi's & Pinterest

The Black, Silver and White Levi's Tabs

The 50s and 60s saw Levi’s adding in different colour Tabs to their clothing. For garments treated in the Sta-Prest process, which avoided wrinkles, a black Tab with gold lettering was added. Variations of this have been spotted on some of Levi's garments in recent years, but this is mainly done for aesthetic reasoning.

The Silver Tab was created in the late 80s and was first spotted on the baggy denim that defined 80s and 90s grunge culture. White Tabs were used for corduroy pieces, but white Tabs were also used in the 60s and 70s for Levi’s Gals collection.

There's our little guide to the Levi’s Tabs! We hope you learned something. To check out the full vintage Levi’s collection and to bag yourself some rare collectable pieces, click here!


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