Celebrating our 125th Anniversary


This year marks Lee’s 125th Anniversary as a leading international retailer and classic all-American brand. H.D. Lee

125 years is quite an accomplishment, and as we begin our celebrations, we’d love to share more with you about what we’ve done in those more than 45,000 days to become your go-to jean.

The H.D. Lee Mercantile Company was founded by H.D. Lee as a wholesale grocery distributor in Salina, Kansas.  In 1912, Lee opened a garment factory, producing work pants and jackets, to meet consumer demand for reliable work wear. Since then, Lee has continued to expand its fashion lines, bring more fits, styles, technology, features and choices than ever before to the market.

Lee has introduced many new innovations to manufactured denim and style monuments throughout history.

  • 1927: Lee introduced America to the first ever zipper fly.
  • 1949: The untapped women’s jeans market welcomed Lady Lee Riders, boasted as the best fitting jeans in the industry.
  • 1972: Lee is the first to introduce the leisure suit, pioneered by the knit five-pocket jean.
  • 1972: Lee pioneers an all-new fit for women under the Ms. Lee label. The welcoming response from women to the new line of jeans made especially for her quickly placed Lee in the limelight as the leading producer of jeans for women.
  • 1974: Lee introduces “pre-washed” jeans for consumers who want softer denim and were previously left to soak their new denim in a hot bathtub. By 1982, the desired effect was finally achieved by washing jeans with pumice stones, thus launching “stonewashed” jeans in the core denim line.

Sefl Ad_September 1981

Since then, Lee has continued to update their design and fits to best suit all people of today. This year for their 125th Anniversary, Lee is continuing its tradition of innovation and introducing its latest innovation for women, Curvy Fit. Designed with a modern low-rise front and higher back rise, adding a little curve appeal to your wardrobe has never been easier.

This year is sure to full of fun and excitement from Lee as we celebrate our anniversary. We love sharing our latest products with our Lee fans. Look for us at an upcoming Lee Style Party in Minneapolis and Dallas! Also, check out some of our heritage styles in our new Lee 101 line.

What do you remember most about Lee?

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