The year is 1957, Wham-O release the Frisbee Toy. Previously called The Pluto Platter it becomes one of the most popular of its generation.
Two years previously Bill Haley & The Comets release ‘Rock Around The Clock’. As the youth of the Western World are gripped by the emergence of Rock & Roll, the birth of the teenager is in full swing. As American cars get bigger and faster, so too do their engines and bumpers. More chrome, more lights and more literal tail fins saw automobiles emulate crafts that would seemingly take off into the ether, until one day they did. But it wasn’t the Americans but the Russians that led the way.
In October 1957, the USSR sent the first artificial satellite into space, SPUTNIK 1, followed by SPUTNIK 2 in November containing the first dog in space, Laika!
This was arguably the start of the space that culminated in the moon landings (who got there first, Ask Stanley Kubrick?) some 12 years later.
Back on earth it was a turbulent time, in South East Asia the Vietcong has just attacked South Vietnam, the Suez crisis in Egypt had brewed to boiling point and an Asian flu pandemic had claimed over 150,000 lives worldwide.
As a microcosm of the dramatic changes that still needed to occur in the US and elsewhere, in Little rock Arkansas nine students trying to attend a previously all-white school on the first day of school were prevented so by The National Guard.
After huge publicity, violence, protest and backlash, federal troops as instructed by President Eisenhower, accompanied the nine students to complete their first ever day of studies some three weeks later. The film Twelve Angry men, also released the same year, echoed the racial prejudices that rang throughout the US.
This post-war set of baby boomers had huge swirling problems but also great hope. They looked to the roads and the skies, to bury their heads in the stratosphere rather than the sand. The age of speed was upon them with popular culture following suit, corny cartoons such as The Jetsons and The Twilight Zone took public consciousness into weird and wonderful places. Children’s toys were now zephyrs and rockets and spaceships, the notion of being launched into space inconceivable… until one day it was; giving birth to a whole heap of aspiring astronauts. One of these heroes was John Glenn, test pilot who broke the transcontinental speed record in 1957 when he averaged supersonic speed from LA to New York in just three hours and twenty -three minutes. He later joined NASA in 1959 to become an astronaut and the fifth person ever in space.
1957 is the year that has inspired this Levi’s Vintage Collection. In a turbulent time in history this is the wardrobe of the dreamers, the fantasists who dared to looked skyward and beyond. Wide cut pants in both light and heavy tones and materials. Nostalgic tshirts, track tops and sportswear also highlight the collection, from the first generation of youths who were choosing their own wardrobe rather than wearing the clothes their parents forced them to. And we can be thankful, at least, for that.