Levi’s Workwear by Filson | The Oregon Fire Lines | A Continuous Lean.

Levi’s Workwear by Filson | The Oregon Fire Lines

Aug 17th, 2010 | Categories: Americana, Collaborations, Made in the USA, Oregon | by Michael Williams

The folks at Levi Strauss & Co. teamed up with Filson to release a small capsule collection of collaboration workwear. It’s an intriguing project on a few levels; one being that both companies are storied and rugged American brands. The other lies in the fact that Filson doesn’t just collaborate with anyone. To go along with the co-branded goods (which I think have been very well thought out), Levi’s tapped Vice to make a short film about the people from the Grayback Forestry Company in Medford, Oregon, who battle Forest fires for a living. It is my feeling that the documentary adds an interesting dimension to an already appealing project. Expect a few more interesting collaborations from the LS&CO in the coming months.

Further reading: Levi’s x Filson at A Conversation on Cool and The U.S. Forest Service on ACL

Comments: 27

27 Comments to “Levi’s Workwear by Filson | The Oregon Fire Lines”

  1. Joseph Wallis
    on Aug 17th, 2010
    @ 1:10 PM

    you should check out the levis facebook dialog on this, it is pretty scathing from users.

  2. Oliver
    on Aug 17th, 2010
    @ 1:15 PM

    I saw the collection in person an a Levi’s store, and I was disappointed with the extremely inconsistent sizing. I thought the shirt was a joke, the small was so large. And the jacket, which I am still looking for, was sized very small. I know workwear is supposed to run a bit large, but that denim work shirt looked comical.

  3. Wjletch
    on Aug 17th, 2010
    @ 2:10 PM

    What’s comical, is the host of the video. I am confused, did they purposefully search out the biggest dweeb they could find? Big thumbs up to the guys who are out there doing that everyday. Thats honest work.

  4. Tony
    on Aug 17th, 2010
    @ 4:33 PM

    Nice video but I dont know too many fireman dishing out 180 bucks for denim jackets when you can get a Pointer for $50 or a Carhartt for $60. I like where Levi is going with this but it’s just too expensive for workwear (unless they are marketing this as a hip trendy jacket that is intended for preppy city folk who think they are “working men”).

  5. Jay
    on Aug 17th, 2010
    @ 5:49 PM

    I think you’ve got the gist of it Tony.

  6. sygyzy
    on Aug 17th, 2010
    @ 6:04 PM

    @Tony – All designer workwear is expensive. Carhartt, Filson, etc. If you are talking about real workwear, like Dickies, then it’s cheap but even they are making exclusive collaboration collections that are expensive. It’s pretty ironic.

  7. CWW
    on Aug 17th, 2010
    @ 6:20 PM

    ” The tree dust is playing hell with my sinuses…” What a moron. I guess the contrast of that helpless record store clerk against people doing a normal days work is what they were going for, but its almost insulting to those individuals throughout the rest of the country that “city folk” are looking at them almost as an oddity. Hard work is normal. And its a lot easier to do without a boat shoe up your ass, by the way.

  8. James
    on Aug 17th, 2010
    @ 6:37 PM

    I can’t speak for all of the items in the collaboration, but the denim jacket is a Filson production with a Levi’s label and Filson items start at a higher price point due to their reputation and quality. The jacket has Filson’s proprietary oil finish, special lining/collar and was assembled in Seattle. I would pay the $180; the jacket is beautiful and a wonderful spin on Filson’s regular offerings.

  9. Ethan-T
    on Aug 17th, 2010
    @ 7:17 PM

    Let me preface my thoughts with the personal statement, that I, like most of you, are all posers. I live in urban South Florida and vacation in rural spots to fly fish and camp….I too have bought into the “New Americana” resurgence. I guess why I feel like I am a poser and why I feel most people that take the time to read “blogs” which promote hyper-consumerism of this new american ideal, is that when I travel back home to north central PA, I have friends and family that are what I consider are the real deal of this “new ideal”. Yes they wear Levi’s (though no one cares or knows about Selvege Demin), Carhartt, Flison and Woolrich (Woolrich, PA is two towns over from where I grew up) they view these items almost as tools (and definitely not as fashion) to get a job done and the only reason they buy quality is so they don’t have to buy another one for a really long time. They are not checking the local stores or going online to “see what’s coming out next season!”…

    We are nothing more than consumers looking through a window at another world and another way of life. The problem though, is that way of life can’t be bought into with an AMEX.

  10. Chelsea
    on Aug 17th, 2010
    @ 7:36 PM

    i live in medford, oregon…and these guys are our local heroes.

  11. Jojoba
    on Aug 17th, 2010
    @ 8:08 PM

    I have to say… I too am a little confused by this video. Are they using firemen to sell jeans? This whole ‘work wear’ thing is starting to get a bit gross.

  12. Grant
    on Aug 18th, 2010
    @ 8:42 AM

    That host dude is a complete ninny. I video called americana should be a little more tough. At least the fire fighters were tough. The host made the video not nearly as interesting or enjoyable as it could’ve been.

  13. Andrea
    on Aug 18th, 2010
    @ 9:42 AM

    The Grayback gentlemen should be commended for not killing the pencil-necked geek.

    I think the filmmakers made a serious miscalculation when they assumed that we can’t recognize “real” workers when we see them; they felt the need to provide us with the overwrought contrasting character of Thomas. I’m insulted.

    And outside of some extremely subtle branding, I’m just not seeing the point of the whole video. (I’m not sure that even Thomas is the target market.)

  14. Ed
    on Aug 18th, 2010
    @ 3:57 PM

    Prices seem to be comparable to similar Filson products. Filson itself seems to be up-scale work wear – a mix of stuff that works well enough to justify higher cost for someone who’s paid to be outside regardless of conditions, and some items that cater more to someone who works inside but can afford to look rugged. Filson is higher dollar than Wal-Mart Dickies, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get it dirty. At least it’s all functional, which is more than you can say for fashion brands.

    Given the sizing comment, I wonder who made the patterns. The shirt and cruiser may be Filson standard patterns with Levi fabric, and the trucker jacket may be Levi’s pattern in Filson fabric – that would explain the too large/too small sizing skew. The trucker is the most interesting item for me. The denim cruiser looks a lot like a chore coat, which you could get for 1/3 of the price.

    Levi’s announced a collaboration with Brooks Brothers at the same time. Finally 501s made in the US again. Maybe the collaboration frenzy is an outgrowth of idle factory capacity – the down economy encouraging unusual projects.

  15. DS
    on Aug 18th, 2010
    @ 8:57 PM

    That was one of the funniest videos I’ve seen in a while. Welcome to this week’s edition of cultural mismatch.

  16. Damian
    on Aug 19th, 2010
    @ 2:39 PM

    Had some good laughs. Those boxers cracked me up. Thanks!

  17. Jeff
    on Aug 19th, 2010
    @ 3:30 PM

    As some posters have alluded to, the fundamental problem with much of this trend toward workwear is that it is promoted, sold, and worn by folks who simply do not work (at least the hard physical labor with which these garments are associated). The problem I have found in buying workwear is that I feel inauthentic wearing it — and I happen to be a guy who hunts, fishes, lays his own tile, cuts and hauls his own firewood, etc. Now, normally a bit of inauthenticity isn’t an issue in fashion, since clothing is but one of the many tools we all use to craft our personas. Some fantasy is expected and embraced. But workwear is touted as being more “authentic,” so there’s a deep contradiction between the image that is being sold and the reality of the situation (as evidenced poignantly by the Woody Allenesque host of this piece). There was a spread in GQ or Esquire a few issues ago on outdoor wear, and I laughed for a few minutes looking at the faux-ruggedness of the clothing and model, who looked like he’d have a tough time catching a train, much less a fish. It was totally phony, so much so that I had trouble figuring out whether or not it was supposed to be a spoof. Sadly, I don’t think it was, although I’m still not sure. The same can be said for the khaki-philia we often see here on ACL. It’s tough to pull off anything more than a pair of pants unless you’ve actually just survived the Battle for Iwo Jima. Overdo it, and you look like a zookeeper or some guy who just stepped out of a Banana Republic catalog, circa 1980 (you older guys know what I mean).

  18. dan
    on Aug 19th, 2010
    @ 4:17 PM

    Hey Jeff,

    Do you have a problem when wear jackets that have surgeon’s cuffs (and they’re not operating on a patient)?

    What about guys that wear denim (and there not panning gold)?
    What about men who wear flat front pants (and it’s not war time)?
    What about a guy who wears wingtips (and doesn’t live in a swamp or bog)?
    What about a guy who wears synthetic underwear (and he’s not camping or backpacking)?
    What about a guy who wears hiking boots in the winter (but he’s not hiking)?
    What about men who wear jeans with a coin pockets (despite not using it for coins or a pocket watch)?
    What about men who wear double breasted pea coats, (despite not being a member of British navy)?
    I wear Clark desert boots (and I’m not a soldier, nor am I in the desert).

    Do you see what I’m getting at, Jeff?

  19. Jonas
    on Aug 19th, 2010
    @ 5:43 PM

    I just about pissed myself watching that video. Boy, that kid is way out of his element. If he had a Quad venti mocha frappachino with whipped cream when he was in the saw shop, that would have been perfect. HaHaHa!!! But, at the same time I would laugh my ass of at a vid of one of the greyback dudes at a fashion show, so hats off to our little hero for at putting himself out there.

    I am a professional big-city firefighter, and have worked on the wild-land side also. I can say this: the wild-land side is hard, shitty, and under-appreciated work (unless you are on a Hotshot, Smoke jumper, or Helitack crew). Long hours and little pay. The one thing is that (most) guys and gals have coming out of that environment is a strong work ethic. Respect.

    Filson stuff is expensive, but if you buy a wool cruiser, it’s a coat that you will hand down to your son and he will hand down to his. I’m not a fan of the tin cloth for actual work. I have a pair of tin cloth pants that I used for firewood cutting, they suck. Do not breathe at all. Sure they are classic looking, but like the Maine Hunting shoe, there are better options out there for “workwear”.

    Sitting in a duck blind in your tin-cloth suit and bean boots on, trusty black lab at your side and LeFever single shot 12g cradled in your arms… that all works.
    Running a Stihl 056 all day long;
    One word for you… Carhartt.

  20. Michael Williams
    on Aug 19th, 2010
    @ 5:47 PM

    Great comment Jonas!

  21. Damian
    on Aug 20th, 2010
    @ 10:16 AM

    I’m new to a lot of what’s promoted here (bit of a rube I guess). Just looked up FILSON. If I did not live in TX I would be all over that Mackinaw Cruiser. Very handsome and durable looking. But given our weather I would be lucky to wear it comfortably once or twice a year.

  22. kpr
    on Aug 20th, 2010
    @ 1:51 PM

    @Joseph Wallis, Can you point to the Facebook page where you mention the dialogue (or anybody else for that matter). I’ve checked and these video have not been posted to the Levis FB space. I’m just interested in reading the conversation.

    I’m on the fence about where we draw the line between true workwear and collaborations like this one from Levis x Filson. I grew up in Yamhill, Oregon. 900 people. About 45 minutes southwest of Portland. Years ago I threw on filthy Carhartts to stack hay and clear brush. Today I wear beeswax desert boots because they’re comfortable, look great and do what they to for me here in the city of SF. We’re at a point when classic workwear styles have become fashionable and that’s fine. I don’t think anybody wearing those classic “workwear” styles are trying to pawn themselves off to be wildland firefighters like these guys. Nobody is posing.

  23. Jeff
    on Aug 20th, 2010
    @ 3:22 PM

    @Dan — As I stated pretty clearly in my post, the problem is the contradiction between marketing and reality. So, your examples really don’t make any sense. Modern advertising campaigns don’t market double-breasted pea coats as a way for us to get back to our maritime roots; nor do they hype the wingtip as a way for us to once again walk the moors; nor do they sell us denim so we can all go out and prospect for gold. (Even though there are undoubtedly very rare cases where these associations might be made.) Hence, there is really no connection between the advertising campaigns and the original uses for the garments you mention. As we see from this video, however, the same cannot be said for the Levi’s-Filson collaboration, as well as other workwear campaigns. The message implicit in this video is that real working men wear these clothes — and now you can too! I have no problem at all with wearing clothes in ways they were not intended, but in this case, the advertisers are making a direct (and far-fetched) association between their products and forest fighting. As other posters have observed, most working people don’t buys these clothes or wear them; they usually wear Carhartts or Dickies . . .

    Do you see what I’m getting at, Dan?

  24. dan
    on Aug 23rd, 2010
    @ 11:53 AM

    @Jeff

    Of course you make some good points, but I find it almost humorous when you say: “the problem is the contradiction between marketing and reality.”

    If you’re going to attack the ironic/misleading/silly marketing of any company (or collaboration), are you really going to aim your guns at Filson/Levi?

  25. Jonas
    on Aug 25th, 2010
    @ 10:13 PM

    Actually the funniest disconnect between the marketing and reality I ever saw was last years Stihl Saw and accessories catalog.
    Right on the inside of the front cover is Hans Peter Stihl standing in the woods in a beautiful 3 piece navy blue pinstripe suit and tie. Gold watch and wingtips… the whole board room kit.

  26. Miles
    on Sep 4th, 2010
    @ 12:43 PM

    Sucks for Levis and especially Filson to have the lazy, pale and moronic hipster nerds over at VICE send a little rookie storm trooper out into the forest to cover this story. I wonder if that flannel shirt was the first thing he went for once he heard of this story. If you’re going to put together a video like this, send someone like Morgan Freeman.

  27. dee
    on Sep 5th, 2010
    @ 11:07 PM

    Thats my boy, handsome man. great job Shane Stancliff!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!