A Levi’s® Mystery: The Case of the Prized Cutoffs

Levi Strauss & Co.
February 22, 2019

When radio producer Ben Riskin first came upon a pair of Levi’s® 501® cutoff shorts at a Chicago thrift store, he immediately felt an instant connection.

For Ben, the purchase became a prized possession and oddball conversation starter. He would find himself conjuring all kinds of historical origins that usually culminated in a gay backstory he could personally connect with. His imagination put him on the path to a full-blown investigation to find the truth.

In an episode of WNYC Radio’s Nancy show , an NPR podcast, Ben shares his journey in “The Case of the Cutoffs” which starts with a consultation with Levi Strauss & Co. Historian Tracey Panek, and continues into Chicago’s historic “Leather and Levi’s” scene.

Listen to Ben’s story here on NPR.