While denim comes in a variety of styles, sizes and colours, there’s one constant when it comes to your favourite jeans: most have a leather patch on the back of the waistband.
And while it might seem like this patch is just a random detail, it turns out it actually has a marketing purpose.
According to Seventeen, the patches, which are actually called jacrons, were introduced by Levi’s in 1873 on their denim overalls. A Levi’s historian explained that the patch was added to products to keep customers from purchasing fake jeans.
“From the leather back patch, customers could immediately determine if the jeans were a genuine pair of Levi’s overalls with the high quality they expected. Even those who were illiterate or who spoke a foreign language recognized Levi’s products from the famous Two-Horse Trademark illustration on the leather back patch.”
At one point all of these patches were created from genuine leather, but more recently brands have been using faux leather made of paper.
While there’s really no purpose beyond brand recognotion, it’s no doubt a trademark of Levi’s denim to have the brown patch on the back of the waistband. A smart marketing initiative that has stood the test of time, from 1873 to present, you can identify a pair of Levi’s from a block away.
And of course, newer denim brands have taken a cue from the iconic Levi’s brand by adding their own branded jacrons to their pants — and some are even going an extra step. Recently, American Eagle announced that at their AE Studio in New York City, you can customize your own jacrons with a variety of colours and embossing options.