It doesn’t get better for me than the Levi’s Vintage Clothing collection. The garments are produced to exact historical specifications, almost becoming new dead stock jeans. If you live in Europe or Japan it has been easier to get your hands on a pair of Levi’s LVC than if you live in the States. Well friends, times they are a changin’. LS & CO recently formed a specific group (called “XX” meaning “extra strong”) to consolidate the company’s premium businesses. This new division will be headed up by the well respected Maurizio Donadi, who is a veteran of both Diesel and RRL. Safe to say XX is in good hands. Along with the new focus on the premium market, you will see that LVC is going to have a more consistent presence in the land of the free, which is how it should be.
There have been points through the years that have marked significant changes in the classic 501 jean. For instance in 1922 when men started wearing belts instead of suspenders so Levi’s started adding belt loops and removed the buttons for the braces. In 1944, the U.S. government demand that all businesses ration materials like fabric, thread and metal. So the 1944 LVC 501 was made without rivets on the watch pocket, crotch and cinch. The War Department also determined that the famous Levi’s back pocket stitching — called the Arcuate — was “decorative and a waste of thread” according to LS & CO Historian Lynn Downey. So rather than lose its trademark, Levi’s hand painted the Arcuate on every pair of Levi’s 501 WWII jeans.
In 1947, the modern 501 appeared with a slimmed down fit and a machine applied (and uniform) Arcuate, with a diamond shape at the middle. Prior to the use of the double needle sewing machines, the back pocket stitching was done with a single needle machine and varied from jean to jean. Another important date (and LVC model) is 1966. This is the year that bar tack technology became developed enough to create a stitch that was as strong as the traditionally used rivets. So starting in 1966, Levi’s did away with the back pocket rivets (which had a tendency to scratch things when you sat down) once and for all. 1966 was also known as the “Bob Dylan” era for Levi’s. More history of the Levi’s 501 jean can be found here. (PDF)
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Detail images of the Levi’s Vintage Clothing SS/10 collection below.
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