Sunday, December 28, 2008
Yesterday I did my first real 'vintage snap outing'. The two previous people I've shot have been more coincidental but now I've started thinking that it's really interesting to see vintage items actually being worn and coordinated with other vintage pieces. (Would be great to hear what you think about it.)
Omotesando dori is still packed and might not have what I'm looking for anyway, so I set up my tent on Harajuku street. As I've mentioned before, this is where most of the vintage shops are located so it's logical for me to go there.
I'm now learning how take street snaps and it's a little more difficult than it seems and takes a little more time, too. Capturing the spirit of a person and place like The Sartorialist can is very hard.
What I do now is that I hang around on a parking lot, leaning on a vending machine all day. It's really a very relaxing thing to do for me, it gives me a lot of time to think, about clothes but also everything else in my life, and looking at people is fun too.
Daisuke was the first one I shot yesterday and he was a real easy catch as he works at ZOOL, one of the absolute best vintage shops, right next to my spot and was having a break when I saw him.
He's 26 and has been into vintage clothing for about 15 years. They certainly start young here, I'm just a rookie in comparison!
His favourite garment is '30s and '40s leather jackets. He collects them and has about 50 jackets!
He's wearing a '30s-'40s Brown's Beach jacket, a '50s shirt, WW2 work pants and '50s engineer's boots. The only item that isn't vintage is his Dapper's, a brand that makes reproductions as well as new but vintage inspired designs, cap.
The Brown's Beach jacket is a very sought after item and quite rare too. What's special about the Beach jacket is the speckled wool fabric, it's like a blown up salt and pepper fabric.
Go here to look at better pictures of an identical Beach jacket.
I guessed that his pants were U.S. Navy and so did he when he first got them, but he was then told by a U.S. vintage dealer that they weren't. They're just work pants, but they are very similar to Navy pants.
What dates them to the WW2 era is the laurel leaf button that can also be found on Levi's and many other brands of the same era.
Thank you Daisuke!
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Today I tried to repeat my last successfull vintage spotting by going to Harajuku to take pictures. My initial plan was to go to Omotesando street, where a lot of people pass and where pretty much all streetstyle photographers hang out because of this.
However, the streets were literally crammed with people and even though there wasn't really any space at all to take a photo, there were photographers everywhere. Outside H&M the line was also almost as long as before the Comme des Garcons release.
I've never seen Harajuku like this and I couldn't fathom why until I sat down to write this--it's Christmas, I just remembered! Christmas spirit is non-existant for me here, but I don't really miss it much.
Anyway, I gave up and decided to head further into Harajuku, to Harajuku street where there is a cluster of at least 10-12 great vintage shops. This is one of my favourite places for vintage shopping and I highly recommend spending time there, but going through the shops will take at least 30 hours if you actually try stuff on.
Incidentally, I went to Lost Hills to look at a nice, thin Wrangler denim jacket that I was going to wear as a shirt. This shop is the one that Inoue showed me.
While there I saw another fine gentleman and asked to take his picture.
His name is Shingo, he's 30 and a 'salaryman'. Salaryman is a loanword that is basically used to described the millions of identically looking, black suit-clad office workers in Tokyo and Japan.
Today he looked nothing like a salaryman and I bet he appreciates his weekends when he can wear what he likes the most, vintage.
Here's another guy that wears only vintage, there's quite a few of them here and it makes me happy to see.
He's wearing a '70s-'80s Powderhorn Mountaineering jacket, a '70s-'80s women's wool cardigan, LL Bean Boots and unbranded, beautifully patched, light denim work pants.
This type of pant has been produced by many different brands like KEY, Big Smith and Boss of the Road. The UFO rivets are iconic for this type of pant and era.
I would date these jeans to somewhere around the 1940s, but they could also be slightly later or earlier. Shingo bought them in this worn and patch state in nearby shop VOICE.
I have personally been looking for pants like this with bright orange stitching in a one wash state that I can break in myself.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
It's hard to find a nice white t-shirt today, especially one that isn't cut too modern. I wear a lot of white American Apparel tees because I could get them for $7, and am sort of happy with them, but the cuts are too tall and slim in my opinion.
This spring you'll be able to buy LVC tees by themselves, not just packaged with jeans like earlier seasons. There's a lot to choose from in regards to fit and era, but they don't come cheap. I think they retail for $60/EUR60 or so.
We can now choose from t-shirts from the '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s and '80s.
1920s Sunset t-shirt
Off-white cotton t-shirt with ribbed hem sleeves and shell buttons from Levi's higher-end label Sunset. I guess it was for those who'd finally found their gold.
1930s Bay Meadows t-shirt
Thin, white cotton jersey with un-ribbed neck and short sleeves.
Short and boxy. The ribbed neck returns.
Now slightly slimmer and taller, with a neck that is slightly wider.
Tight and short, small neck.
Tight and short. Ribbed neck and sleeve. Mix of cotton and polyester.
Loose fit, resembling the '40s shirt, with a wide neck.
'I love you' is still my favourite.
The shirts of Spring are a pleasant mix of denim, chambray and brushed cotton, in distressed states that I actually don't mind.
1902 Sunset striped shirt
The original was found in a mine in the West. Made in a soft, striped brushed cotton fabric, with a hidden button down collar.
It has the peculiar small left chest pocket that you'd think was made up design, but it's actually true to the shirts of the time, and the design was used by brands other than Levi's too. I wonder why a small pocket would be smaller than a full-sized one, though. This is why vintage is so interesting.
1907 Sunset chambray, Last Rain
As promised, here's the men's version of the wonderful chambray in the women's collection.
I think the aging process and patching is well done. I would have no problem wearing this, like I do with most pre-distressed things.
e-Workers is a small Japanese brand that remakes vintage pieces in a very limited quantity, and they have a Sunset shirt in their collection. They also have a shirt with the small chest pocket from an unknown brand that you can look at.
Levi's Make, 1910 Chambray shirt
The original was found in a bunkhouse in Sierra Nevada. It had started out black, now it was worn, faded and torn. It has a hidden button-down collar and is kept in style by a Levi's arcuate on the back yoke.
1950s Western Check shirt
It doesn't really fit with the theme of this collection, but I guess Levi's felt it was a nice enough shirt and put it in. This shirt comes from Levi's old line Western Wear, a very descriptive name I must say.
This shirt is heavily washed and very soft. Comes in a Western Wear box.
1955 Sawtooth denim shirt
Another inquisitor, but a classic one. Pretty much the same shirt as above but in a heavily washed denim. The last two seasons it's been available in unwashed denim but now we only get it washed. Again, the distressing is done well and something I can live with, and in.
1920s Sack Coat
More in the vein of farmers and laborers than the usual denim jacket, which was perhaps the choice of the cowboy instead, is the sack coat. With its many and big pockets its made for utility, not for style, and it was usually worn together with the Lot 66 overalls.
1930s Menlo Leather Jacket
A very soft brown leather jacket. The leather has been oil washed and then rubbed with newpapers to achieve this state.
Lot 66 Overalls
Yeah, we got an overall too, good gracious! Ours is from around 1912 and are the hand-me-downs of an engineer. Cut extra full for Christmas time, with a cinch to secure them if the elastic suspenders won't cut it.
Worked-in, not worn-out.
Wow, I kept you waiting for so long, and bored you with all this above text when all you wanted to see was jeans. Omataseshimashita!
This season there's a few new faces, and some unfortunate losses.
We start with the first 501 in 1890, gain a pocket in 1901, are awarded in 1915-1917, gain weight in 1927, Act to help the Nation Recover in 1933, take a deep breath, adjust the cinch one last time and prepare for war in 1937, paint our pockets in 1944, invent the Classic in 1947, find zippers to be faster in 1954, can't at all seem to find the '55er, expose our ankles in 1966, Buy Our Exact Size in 1967, go back to the roots in 1978 and finally make our last selvedge jeans in 1983, now in 14 oz redline denim.
1890 XX 501
Made of the best 9 oz blue denim made, sewn with Saddler's linen thread. $0.75
Before 1890, the top of the line Levi's jeans was simply called XX, referring to the strong denim used. Now, it became the 501. This is also the year when the 1873 patent for the riveted waist overall ended.
You can get it worn or not.
I'm very sad to announce that I do not have product pictures of some of the normal, raw denim jeans that have appeared before in the LVC line. I simply ran out of time looking at the new items. I apologise and promise to do better next time. I hope that scans will do for now.
It wasn't until 1901 that the 501 got its fifth pocket(so much for '501' having anything to do with the five-pocket jean!). I'm not sure why it took so long, maybe people really liked the diaper-look.
I wonder when the six-pocket jean will be introduced, the designer will surely be declared a genious.
The 'XX No.1 Indigo dyed' received an award in 1915 at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition and the 501 hung on to its award for a few years, imagine how proud it must've been.
Of all the new additions in this collection, it's definitely my favourite vintage. What I like the most is that not only are the arcuates different between the two backpockets, but the shape of the actual pockets are different too. I think that they're more aesthetically pleasing than the 1901's backpockets because they're smaller and more rectangular.
I also very much like the short length of the stitching, at the coinpocket for instance.
The original was made from Amoskeag natural indigo denim, but the re-issue is made in Kurabo denim, which is pretty nice too.
You've seen this before. For more pics, have a look at the 2008 A/W LVC post.
The little white tag is the National Recovery Act tag. Levi's followed the rules set by Roosevelt's National Recovery Administration and were therefore allowed to use the tags on their garments.
Ironically, this act deepened and prolonged the recession.
The Last Cowboy. The suspender buttons are gone but the cinch remains even though it would often-times be cut off after purchase. Suspender buttons were still handed out on request, though.
This is my favourite year together with the 1944. I don't own a pair of either, but my Flat Head 3003XX are a '44 replica and I customized them by putting on suspender buttons, so I sorta own both, kinda.
The most iconic of the 501 versions. I'm not sure why it's so popular, perhaps it's the cut, because it can easily pass as modern, compared to many other years at least.
Frayed Dry wash
This is a heavily washed pair with dirt and paint specks embedded in the light denim.
1944, 1947 and 1954 501 compared. Slight variation in denim.
The '50s was when the jeans first became an item of style, not just utility. It's evident if you read On the road(written in 1951), where blue jeans are referred to simply as 'levis'[sic]. Levi's and jeans were pretty much synonyms at the time, much like Rollerblades meant inlines and vice versa some years ago.
The 501 got a larger audience and some of them really, really had to go, so the 501 Zipfly was introduced. The regular 501 was still sold however.
The Rootless wash
Nils thinks he's quite fit so he wanted to model these.
Unfortunately, the 1955 501 is not in this collection. I think that's a shame as it leaves a gaping hole in the line, fit-wise. The '54 is much more similar to the '47 if I recall correctly, just a little tapered instead of straight.
The rivet-covering effort in 1937 wasn't enough, saddles still got scratched. From now on the rivets were replaced with bartacks on the backpockets.
The backpockets are some of the more iconic ones in the 501 history, very rectangular with a shallow arcuate.
The first sanforized jean made by Levi's was the 1963 551ZXX. In 1967, the 505 became Exact, too. The sanforized denim suited the zipfly on the 505 much better, since it didn't twist or shrink and thus wouldn't make the fly bulge like the loomstate denim had.
Golden Ochre wash, Customized fit
The leg is even narrower on these than on the normal 505. The indigo has wandered off somewhere, perhaps it was scared away by the mudd that now takes residence in your pants.
The guy who wore in the originals sure wished he had a sixth pocket, 'cause his pockets were full!
Levi's was deemed more pleasing to the eye than was LEVI'S, so this red tab has a small 'e'. It's still made from selvedge denim, 14oz at that, and the cut and detailing is much like the 1947 501.
I'm not sure if that's a conscious design decision or if these proportions just fit the time best.
The Last Selvedge. The First Open-End. Endorsed by Bruce Springsteen~~
Side by side with the '78.
If you have any questions, ask them in the comments section and I'll make sure Nils answers them swiftly.
** Added some more scans from the lookbook.