Bona Fide | Levi’s Workwear by Billy Reid | A Continuous Lean.

Bona Fide | Levi’s Workwear by Billy Reid

Aug 24th, 2010 | Categories: Menswear | by Michael Williams

Straight from the September issue of GQ is the Billy Reid for Levi’s capsule collection. In case you forgot, Billy won GQ’s Best New Menswear Designer in America competition (deservedly so, I might add) and in doing so teamed up with a little denim outfit out of San Francisco to create the Levi’s Workwear by Billy Reid. The limited offering is set to go on sale (at select Bloomingdale’s stores and Billy Reid retail shops, plus Billy Reid online) next month — if you have your eye on anything. I actually got a sneak peek at this stuff when I was down in Alabama and really liked what I saw. So far each GQ x Levi’s collaboration (Engineered Garments and Robert Geller being the previous two) have turned out well. It looks like the streak continues and Billy remains the undisputed King of the South. [Levi's Workwear by Billy Reid at]

Comments: 55

55 Comments to “Bona Fide | Levi’s Workwear by Billy Reid”

  1. Brett
    on Aug 24th, 2010
    @ 4:12 AM

    when I met Michael in LA, He was driving a ’69 Coupe De Ville Boss-Hogg replica convertible made out of compressed 100% pure Colombian…so I guess he’s makin a lot of bread from this blog. I mean to say the whole car was made from cocaine…suriously.

  2. matthew langley
    on Aug 24th, 2010
    @ 9:52 AM

    I think the pieces individually are fine – it’s a modest collection at best.

    But I have to take exception with the dark denim work shirt and dark denim jeans – it feels a little bit “Canadian Tuxedo” if you know what I mean. I’m also not a big fan of the rolled cuffs on the jeans with the rolled sleeves matching quite the way they do.

    I think I’ll pass.

  3. PER
    on Aug 24th, 2010
    @ 10:46 AM

    Sick distressed jeans bro! Those would look good on Matthew McConaughey circa 2001.

  4. JonIndia™
    on Aug 24th, 2010
    @ 11:06 AM

    oh god, i’m really praying that all-denim outfits are not going to be the new “cool”. By the way, the 69 Coupe de Ville is sweet as hell.

  5. Greg
    on Aug 24th, 2010
    @ 11:20 AM

    Agreed with Mr. Langley and JonIndia. That cuffed Canadian Tux is hideous, no matter what sort of revival denim is having at the moment.

    The rest of the collection is decent looking, but sort of forgettable after 2+ years of similar “work”wear.

  6. flocker
    on Aug 24th, 2010
    @ 12:06 PM

    being in the south, i love the idea of Billy Reid.

    I just get this creeping feeling when i put on some brand new distressed workwear that was aged by a lady in a factory, that i am a huge poser so i end up leaving it in the closet.

    I know this isnt unique to Billy Reid, but how do men who actually do things reconcile the fact that their style is so totally affected?

  7. Ted
    on Aug 24th, 2010
    @ 12:26 PM

    Throw a trench or a Barbour over this and its good to go.
    I’ve been seeing a lot of the denim shirt with jeans around(especially in print). Is it the ideal combination for me? Probably not but I really like what Billy Reid is doing. I like his shop and I have been obsessing over an oxford shirt I saw him wear in a Jake Davis shot. He’s a Dude with a particular point of view and its pretty cool. He has an impressive CV and the coolest pair of K-Swiss I have ever seem. He’s a guys guy. He REALLY seems like the kind of guy you want to have a beer with. Or a scotch. Or…
    Why all of the negative comments and suspicion?.We’re looking at Jeans. Nice Jeans too.I don’t know man. Sometimes it seems like there’s something else going on in the comment section. Like its a debate on Healthcare or the Defense Budget. Easy does it.

  8. Wjletch
    on Aug 24th, 2010
    @ 1:12 PM

    Or….. A circle jerk?

    I love the south, but Denim Dan and his NYC pig pickins’, is the modern day Sherman. I just hope he doesn’t rape my wife, and then burn my house down.

  9. Jeremiah
    on Aug 24th, 2010
    @ 1:26 PM

    Love Billy Reid and what he does… but not a huge fan of any of these items.

    I was really looking forward to see what he would come up with in this collabo, but for me, it is a swing and a miss.

  10. PER
    on Aug 24th, 2010
    @ 1:43 PM

    To answer flocker’s question: the same dudes who used to wear distressed Diesel with embroidered roses on the crotch or bedazzled skulls on the back pocket are wearing pre-distressed jeans and workwear. IE – the average clueless guy.

    And the companies selling distressed clothing make more money on this from season to season, since the acid-bathed and sandpapered clothing will disintegrate and need replacing much faster than a pair of Levi’s STFs or quality rigid Japanese denim (or $40 Carhartts for that matter). This is clearly diametrical to what was originally interesting in traditional workwear: quality, durability, craftmanship, versatility, etc.

    This is all par for the course for a brand like Levis, who tossed out their quality goals (and most of their brand identity) decades ago in a desperate gambit to chase the market, but perpetually remain a few miles back and a few grades chintzier.

  11. Michael Williams
    on Aug 24th, 2010
    @ 1:46 PM

    I’m not mad at the all denim look. I have to be honest. That’s just me though. And you know what they say, opinions are like assholes — everyone has one.

  12. PER
    on Aug 24th, 2010
    @ 1:53 PM

    @Ted – here are some generic laudatory comments, courtesy of a recent Sartorialist post:

    sabthaglam said…

    miselle said…
    my heart seriously just fluttered a bit..

    Eden said…
    He looks amazing!I bet he’s gay :DDD No straight man looks that good :DDD

    mariot said…
    its a classical

  13. Andy
    on Aug 24th, 2010
    @ 1:58 PM

    Link to his page does not work M.

  14. Tintin
    on Aug 24th, 2010
    @ 2:02 PM

    “…how do men who actually do things reconcile the fact that their style is so totally affected?”

    By not knowing their ass from a hole in the ground. So says I and I’m as full of shit as the next guy. Difference is — I know it. Most don’t.

    At least he doesn’t have his sleeves rolled up past his elbows. I assume that’s ’cause he’s from the south and those of us who grew up down there associate that sleeve rolling with grits who pump gas. On the UES of Manhattan it’s a curated aesthetic.

  15. Michael Williams
    on Aug 24th, 2010
    @ 2:02 PM

    I’m surprised no one has made any purse comments. This post is also light on disdain directed at the author.

  16. Michael Williams
    on Aug 24th, 2010
    @ 2:04 PM

    Tintin — didn’t I see you making eyes at a hole in the ground on 79th and Mad. this AM?

  17. Dave
    on Aug 24th, 2010
    @ 2:14 PM

    Yawn. I like Billy Reid, but this stuff is boring. Levi’s is losing the plot.

  18. ramirez
    on Aug 24th, 2010
    @ 2:43 PM

    really? a car entirely made out of cocaine??
    that is the most baller thing i have ever heard.

    i need to start a blog

  19. Bradley
    on Aug 24th, 2010
    @ 4:28 PM

    After reading through these comments, I think it would be interesting to get a straight guy’s point of view on this collection too. Just for variety. None so far.

  20. Ted
    on Aug 24th, 2010
    @ 4:41 PM

    Whatever man.

  21. Ted
    on Aug 24th, 2010
    @ 4:45 PM

    anyone wanna buy a 110.00 notebook here?

  22. scott
    on Aug 24th, 2010
    @ 4:47 PM

    “…and assholes are like holes in the ground..”
    I’m diggin the simplicity.
    Versatile. Like the subtle tweaks on the tops.

  23. Bradley
    on Aug 24th, 2010
    @ 4:59 PM

    Just jokin’ Ted. I just like how the style critiques go over the top sometimes. I tend to enjoy the overuse of denim, some hate it, some don’t care.

    Continue on…

  24. Ted
    on Aug 24th, 2010
    @ 5:14 PM

    Not a prob Bradley. He’s a cool Dude. That’s all I’m sayin’.

  25. unitedstyle
    on Aug 24th, 2010
    @ 5:38 PM

    Is this post going to be nominated for the next round of cluster-f’s?

    I think what’s shown looks kind of dull on the page. Hopefully the rest of the collection will look better in person.

  26. xtimx
    on Aug 24th, 2010
    @ 5:45 PM

    single pocket levis denim shirt is excellent. the rest is like diet RRL. none of this is bad, but when held up next to the previous levis collaborations, such as the afore mentioned robert geller, its just not as strong.
    i think michael williams kinda blew it by posting about his comments orgies. now every ding-a-ling who is as vocal as he is ignorant will be attempting to up his comments game by trying to intentionally slander article content as well as fellow commenters.
    p.s. i read in the comments of another blog that michael williams coupe de ville is fueled by magic, babys laughter, and true love.
    also, that hermes make cologne from the exhaust.
    also, that it travels trough time. which is how he knows the billy reid/levis collab will be successful.

  27. JLSLC
    on Aug 24th, 2010
    @ 5:55 PM

    You had me up until “Bona Fide.”

  28. ryan w
    on Aug 24th, 2010
    @ 6:55 PM

    free fried chicken and bourbon at his store are one thing but that picture of him makes him look jokey. there are many things wrong with his look- rolled up sleeves, rolled up cuffs, spotty beard, dorky glasses, tie that doesn’t know what it’s doing there, etc etc

  29. Ted
    on Aug 24th, 2010
    @ 7:29 PM

    No one has made the
    Bruno “too matchy matchy” reference yet. I guess that’s nice.

  30. Ulysses
    on Aug 24th, 2010
    @ 8:16 PM

    Billy Reid doesn’t know shit about workwear.

  31. UrbanRagg
    on Aug 24th, 2010
    @ 8:37 PM

    “This is either madness or brilliance!” “It’s remarkable how often those two traits coincide”, said Captain Jack Sparrow

    ’nuff said

  32. Daniel
    on Aug 24th, 2010
    @ 10:17 PM

    That is a seriously modified/’photoshopped’ picture of Billy. He is a much more substantial man in person than that picture suggests.

  33. Noah
    on Aug 24th, 2010
    @ 11:35 PM

    It’s great that billy can wear 3 colors total in the picture and still look damn good

  34. R4
    on Aug 25th, 2010
    @ 1:38 AM

    = the adult Harry Potter
    assholes are like blogs
    everybody has one

  35. Brett
    on Aug 25th, 2010
    @ 2:02 AM

    Tintin used the term “grits”…not referring to the food right? That’s straight out of Laurel, MD.

  36. Art
    on Aug 25th, 2010
    @ 3:59 AM

    Whenever I see what my designers look like I become less inclined to buy from them. It’s not that I’m shallow is just that…. Wait I guess I am a bit shallow.

  37. noose
    on Aug 25th, 2010
    @ 10:06 AM

    dear everyone,

    chill the eff out. billy reid is awesome. safe, but awesome. GQ gave him the “best men’s designer in america” award. who else is there? tommy hilfiger, marc jacobs?! billy’s fits are on point. probably the best fitting button ups i’ve ever owned. i definitely don’t see it as workwear, but none the less, the shit is golden as far as tailoring and details. and some of the coolest retail spaces and staff in the game. i’m quite sure that no matter who’d won that award just about everyone who comments would’ve hosed them too. regardless. just a lot of haters hating just to be hating.

  38. David
    on Aug 25th, 2010
    @ 4:55 PM

    Opinions are like assholes, everyone has ‘em and they all STINK!

  39. Tintin
    on Aug 25th, 2010
    @ 5:53 PM

    “Grit” in the south I was from, was a particularly nasty type of redneck. While a redneck could be a lawyer CPA, etc, Grit was someone who qualified as redneck and usually worked in a job that was filthy. Driving a shit truck, pumping gas, raising pigs, etc.

    THat was the subtle difference. Therefore, a redneck insurance agent might refer to his Port -a -toilet business client as a grit. Not at all what you put salt and butter on.

  40. Monkini
    on Aug 25th, 2010
    @ 5:58 PM

    My humble interpretation of post-bubble zeitgeist: less disposable consumption. More expensive, less frequent purchases of higher quality items that are more durable. Work clothes are durable and fit in the scheme, the same way that tweed does. Clothes should acquire the shape of the wearer, the scars of his life. When you wear a suit 5 days a week, selvedge jeans do take tiiiiiime to shape around the knees, to stretch here and there, to wear and tear. Patience is a virtue re discovered after the instant gratification age.
    In this context pre distressed (even pre faded) clothes are dissonant and sad. Of course (seeing the success of A&F) they may sell stupendously.
    By the way, great blog, keep the ideas coming!

  41. Brett
    on Aug 25th, 2010
    @ 6:24 PM

    Tintin…that’s how we used it too.

  42. J. Scott
    on Aug 25th, 2010
    @ 9:37 PM

    There are three Levi’s ads on the site as I’m reading it now, and according to the website, they are one of Michael’s clients. Whatever pays the bills, I guess.

  43. Michael Williams
    on Aug 25th, 2010
    @ 10:16 PM

    We’ve done work for Levi’s, but we don’t represent the company at this time. However, they do advertise with ACL, but they don’t make me cover them. If I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t cover it. And I happen to like Levi’s and Billy Reid. — MW

  44. Ted
    on Aug 25th, 2010
    @ 10:46 PM

    Perhaps a post on artisanal honey would be less provocative?
    Unless of course you have done work for a freakin beekeeper in the past.

  45. andrea
    on Aug 26th, 2010
    @ 12:30 AM

    Is that Wagner playing in the Levi’s “Ready to Work” video? Overture to Tristan und Isolde, maybe? It gives it an apocalyptic feeling, but the message seems to be to start building anew. Strange.

  46. Brett
    on Aug 26th, 2010
    @ 6:02 PM

    Michael, I could do a post on “artisinal honey” if you like…I’m 3rd generation beekeeper. or, you could do a photospread on Artisinal Honeys! But you’ve already covered Jacques magazine.


  47. Ted
    on Aug 26th, 2010
    @ 6:26 PM

    That sounds SWEET!

  48. J. Scott
    on Aug 26th, 2010
    @ 9:30 PM

    Everyone knows artisanal honey beekeepers are more crooked than a broke dick dog.

  49. Ted
    on Aug 26th, 2010
    @ 11:08 PM


  50. editor
    on Aug 27th, 2010
    @ 10:31 AM

    not a bad collection, but i will stick with 501s and 505s.
    distressed anything = avoid at all costs.
    canadian tuxedo (i had never heard that before) = fuuuuuunny!
    levis taking their denim seriously = a good thing.
    where is this collection being produced? i wish wish wish levis were american-made. would japan like to sell them back their looms? (in my dreams.)
    glad you mentioned robert geller – love him.

  51. JW
    on Aug 28th, 2010
    @ 10:31 AM

    I’m curious, when did workwear = ridiculously expensive?

  52. JLSLC
    on Aug 28th, 2010
    @ 11:15 AM


    When the “work” in “workwear” started referring to “knowledge work” done on computers in gentrified warehouse districts.

    Reid’s get-up wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow in any office I have worked in for the last 15 years.

  53. Stefano_G
    on Aug 28th, 2010
    @ 12:43 PM

    Thanks for all the hearty laughs here. I surmise it’s prime-time for a revolution in (American) fabrics! Contrary to what was previously stated, I’ve always known the double-denim look as a “Texas” tuxedo. The “Canadian” reference makes sense lately, especially when you think of Dan and Dean . I don’t really understand why anyone would want to don workwear when it’s time to be casual? I can think of hundreds of options that would be more flattering, comfortable and unique. The Photoshopping of BR is most noticeably severe.

  54. DmC
    on Aug 30th, 2010
    @ 3:39 PM

    I wasn’t aware that Canadians had occasion to wear tuxedos.

    If you happen to own denim shirts and denim pants sometimes you will end up wearing them together. Sometimes they will have the same amount of wear and other times they won’t. Live your life.

  55. Paul
    on Sep 10th, 2010
    @ 1:11 AM

    Another thread turned to shit. If I wanted to read irrelevant opinions/diatribes, I’d check out MW, I don’t know how you do this and remain professional in your responses. Billy Reid deserved the award (though several of his competitors were equally stellar) and I’m impressed to see him interpret the collection through a particular lens; inspired by an apron, no-less. The collection looks solid and safe. Not quite as bold as I would have liked to have seen, but then it probably would not be commercially advantageous. Good stuff. I picked up the denim shirt myself.