Thursday, November 27, 2008

Harajuku streets: WW2 Levi's

Yesterday I was riding the subway to Harajuku and I noticed this fine gentleman who was exquisitely dressed. He was wearing a heavy sweatshirt that looked like it could be vintage, even though it was in great condition, together with some mid-blue jeans that were vintage Levi's or Levi's replica.
The jeans had not so distinct fading but very nice texture and a few stains and repairs here and there.

He got off at Harajuku too and while standing behind him in the escalator I got a chance to have a closer look at his jeans. I noticed the crooked stitching on the backpockets and the curved shape of them and that there was no trace of an arcuate at all. They were real World War II Levi's!

It's a rare sight to see these worn, even though it does happen from time to time in Harajuku, so inquisitive me stopped him and asked to take his picture.

Mid picture: notice the crooked stitching on the coinpocket. Also, look at the long vertical yellow stitch that connects the back piece with the front piece at hip level. Ryo from Ooe Yofukuten & Co. taught me that you can use this seam to date Levi's--on pre-50s Levi's it will reach below half the height of the backpocket, but on later Levi's it is shorter and ends at about 1/3 of the backpocket.

His name is Inoue Satoshi, he's 24 and a carpenter. No, don't be afraid, he doesn't wear these jeans to work!
He had been interested in vintage clothing for about ten years, since he was a little kid. Nowdays he wears vintage almost exclusively.
In his bag he had another pair of Levi's, 1947-1951s, in a similar state as the jeans he was wearing, and a vintage leather jacket and some other vintage garments.
The sweatshirt he was wearing was 1950s vintage.

His favourite vintage stores were BerBerJin(likewise), Santa Monica and Lost Hills, which I actually hadn't been to before since it's on a small street off Harajuku street. It's a nice store that deals with 50s-80s, mostly American but also some European, vintage clothing, with fair prices.

And yeah, in case you wonder about the prices of vintage Levi's in Tokyo, these jeans cost 300,000 yen or about $3,000.

Thanks, Inoue!

Monday, November 24, 2008

LVC 'Wrath & Dust' S/S 2009: Ladies first

The year of 2008 is nearing its end, and with it the LVC 2008 A/W collection, if there's anything left of it in stores! It's an entirely good thing, and I'm sure the fall items will be loved for many years to come, because with the new year comes a new collection from Levi's Vintage Clothing!

It's time to present what is decidedly, most definitely, without a shadow of doubt, money back-guaranteed the best LVC collection ever!!
I looked at it in August and was overwhelmed. Until now I could only remember my feelings and impressions about the collection clearly, and not so much the actual pieces.
When I looked through my photos again, it was the same thing over again.
I don't mind hyping this collection because it really is this good, with a few exceptions.
The 2008 A/W was the first time I really felt that Levi's could compete with Warehouse and other Japanese brands in terms of finishes and fabrics, and this spring Levi's is doing it again, but on a larger scale and maybe even a little better.

I'm fairly sure that my readers are mostly male so I decided to start with the women's line. Completely nonsensical, you say! Later I'll show you the men's line and the newly introduced Orange Tab collection.

The collection is based on the Depression era and the 'Dust Bowl' time that followed it and continued to plague farmers in the U.S.
Might as well just have you read Levi's own story, I've got a headache:

Okay, let's go!

Lot 66 Bib and Brace Customized, Haystack
Based on an original engineer's garment from around 1912. Comes with seven pockets, including a ruler pocket.
Elastic suspenders and donut buttons.

1933 501 Short short, Hard and Angry
A wonderful pair of men's jeans that were worn hard and then taken over by the girlfriend, and repaird with the cut off denim after the jeans had been transformed into shorts.

1937 701 Onewash
The 1934-37 701 was the first Levi's jeans made specifically for women. It has a high-and-tiny waist and a cinchback.
The wash looks like a pair of jeans that was carelessly washed right-side-out and has many different indigo hues.

Here's an original of roughly the same age for comparison:

1944 701, Frayed Dry
During the second World War, cotton and copper was scarce. Wartime restrictions made Levi's remove the rivets on the coinpocket and the famous arcuate on the backpocket temporarily.
The cinchback and crotch rivet were removed permanently. Buttons were also changed to cut down on copper use.
The red tab and linen patch are both missing even though the originals carried them, because many women preferred unbranded jeans and removed these themselves.
Note the yellow selvedge.

1950's 701, Shut Tight
The 701s of the fifties came with a zipfly, unlike the 501 that had a buttonfly, and a pink selvedge. The pink was actually not a Levi's initiative, but a decision made by Cone Mills to change the color of the line in the woven edge.
These jeans come in what I'd say is roughly a 3-to-5-wash and I really enjoyed the look of it, please look at the detailed pictures of the denim!

1950's Denim Family Culotte
The female counterpart to breeches. Features a Talon sidezip and one backpocket.

1960 701, Rigid
The 60's 701 had an even narrower waist and wider hips than its predecessors. Indicative of the female want to leave their behind unbranded is the paper tag that replaced the linen tag.
The Long, Lean, Levi's Look.

Used my Flat Heads as a reference when looking at the denim.

1966 501 Customized, Baked Ground
It wasn't available for me to see at the time, but it is too good to be left out.
There are small repairs on this was and this model comes with a shorter inseam as these were worn short.

1919 El Real tops Long sleeve, tee, vest
Cotton rib with satin and lace detail.

1930's linen vest, Scattered Mist
Made in unbleched linen. With button front.

Sunset Chambray Shirt Customized, Last Rain
Originally a men's shirt in XL. Worn out, cut off, pleated for femininity.
Repairs don't get much better than this. Thankfully, there's also a men's version of this!

1930's Dress, Last Rain
So, it turns out the best piece of this collection belongs to the ladies. This one has it all--washed out and repaired chambray, red and white polka dots and a different kind of blue at the bottom.

1940's Tee
That I love back. I actually tried it on and it fit me very well in my usual size. I'm getting this one for sure!

1940's Tee, EAT DUST
Same model as the tee above, but with different colored fabric and a print.

1950's Tee, Mud Blue
The 50's tee was slightly longer and had shorter sleeves than the 40's tee.

The last lookbook from Levi's Vintage Clothing won an award and this one is on the same level, so I'm including some inspirational shots.

Please keep itching for my next LVC update!