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Inside Steven Alan

Levi’s Vintage Clothing, Laying Down Denim Tracks

  • We started carrying Levi’s Vintage Clothing this spring. As one would collect stamps, the items from the Levi’s Vintage Clothing line are limitedly distributed. Call it a way of tracking history, the pieces from LVC are taken and modeled directly from within the Levi’s archives.

    Levi’s, a name now synonymous with blue jeans, first patented the jean in 1873.  The jean was first a workman’s overall, festooned with brass rivets, metal hardware, and suspender buttons. In the 1950′s, the jean became a ubiquitous costuming for the bad boys and girls of the silver screen a la John Wayne and Marilyn Monroe. In the 1960′s, the Levi’s jean was worn by radical revolutionaries during sit-ins in Berkeley and street protests. Now in the 21st century, it is a necessary wardrobe staple. So, what is it about old blue that keeps us coming back generation after generation? The original denim has only become more relevant and more important with a large number of brands and labels returning to the original shrink-to-fit model, a blank canvas kind of jean that becomes customized by its wearer.

    Reading Denim as History
    A then and now comparison between a Levi’s archival jean from 1890 with one revived for the LVC collection demonstrates the Levis’ jean as a historical document, a clothing item that continues to evolve as we do:

    Below is an early image of the Calico Mine Jeans, one of the oldest jeans in the Levi’s archives, circa 1890.

    Everything changed during World War II.

    A new standard occurred for Levi’s. The United States government mandated all clothing manufacturers to remove certain raw materials such as metal, fabric, and thread from their garments in order to conserve for the war effort.

    Weighing your options:

    Denim is measured by “ounce per square yard”. After washing, fabrics get heavier despite perhaps losing sizing and dye during wash, because the shrinkage causes the weave to become more dense and thus gain weight (per square yard/meter). The weight increased over the years as technology evolved and mills became able to produce a heavier weight denim.

    Levi’s Archive Clothing can be found on our website as well as in our Tribeca and Venice Annexes and in our Brooklyn shop.

    Tribeca – Steven Alan Annex
    103 Franklin St.
    New York, NY 10013
    Mon – Sat 11:30am – 7pm, except Thurs 11:30am – 8pm
    Sun 12pm – 6pm
    Store: 212.343.0692

    Brooklyn- Steven Alan
    349 Atlantic Avenue
    Brooklyn, NY 11217
    Mon-Sat 11:30-7pm
    Sun 12-6pm
    Store: 718.852.3257

    Venice – Steven Alan Annex
    1601 Abbot Kinney Blvd
    Venice, CA 90291
    Mon-Sat 11am – 7pm
    Sun 12pm – 6pm
    Store: 310.452.3413

    This entry was posted on Monday, September 27th, 2010 at 4:24 pm and is filed under New Arrivals. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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One Response to “Levi’s Vintage Clothing, Laying Down Denim Tracks”

  1. Skateshop says:

    This is really amazing post.