It’s nice to see something come together from the start. A few years ago I got to look at the brand new Levi’s Made & Crafted collection and I’ve been a fan ever since. It was then that I met its design lead Miles Johnson, one of the most talented and knowledge people I have had the pleasure of knowing the in business of clothing. Over the past several seasons Levi’s Made & Crafted has come to represent the perfect marriage of the history of Levi’s and modern style. The collection is rich with interesting details, special fabrics and historical Levi’s influences that play out in often unexpected ways. As menswear has evolved over recent years, Levi’s Made & Crafted has come to embody everything good about what a modern clothing label should be: it’s authentic, has a strong point of view and it nicely considers both the old and the new.
While in Amsterdam this summer, I spent some time with Miles to talk about where Levi’s Made & Crafted comes from, and where it is going.
ACL: How long have you worked for Levi’s in general?
Miles Johnson: 13 years.
ACL: And where did you grow up?
MJ: In England, in the Midlands.
ACL: Were you always interested in denim? Was it always a thing for you, or no?
MJ: I grew up in denim…we wore all denim. I think I had my first pair of Levi’s when I was about seven years old and they were possibly Orange Tab. I didn’t really come across denim until I went back to school to study fashion when I was about 28 and I had worked in costume so I had to know the periods in costume and learn to break down clothes, and that’s where my interest in the manipulation of clothing (and I liked clothing) came from. I learned about how to distress and age pieces that we made specially for principle actors. So that is when I really got into denim.
ACL: With the name “Made & Crafted,” that obviously puts the emphasis on how the clothes are made. Does that inform everything that happens with the collection…about the details in collection?
MJ: We started off by wanting to call the collection “Levi’s Make,” because it was one of the labels that we used in the twenties. And then we moved on to “Levi’s Made.” And the reason why we wanted to just stick with that was “Make” was a name that symbolized quality. Because quality never goes out of style. And so anything that had to do with Levi’s, the quality was always associated. And then, the word “crafted” was being used quite a lot at that time around our design offices — so we just put the words together.