Yesterday marked the 141st birthday of Levi’s 501 jeans. A pretty amazing achievement in the ever-changing platform of retail.
And if you’re the vintage of Stylemeister and myself, then you would have definitely owned a pair of 501’s. The perfect cut, the right weight of denim, they aged like an expensive bottle of Penfold’s Grange and even if the denim ripped, it did so in all the right places. They became your best friend, and you don’t have the heart to send them off to a charity bin. They sit waiting in a box in your storage cupboard, pending their resurrection when the fashion cycle dictates. You ALL know it.
The company is trying to be the ultimate in “slow fashion” in contrast to the throw away mentality of clothing giants such as H&M.
“We are the ultimate in sustainable apparel. We build our products to last, if you treat ‘em right they will last you a long time — probably longer than most people’s waistlines,” says Levi Strauss CEO Chip Bergh (whose pair of jeans have not been washed for a year).
“We’re trying to educate the consumer,” a double-denim wearing Mr Bergh states.
“I know that sounds totally disgusting that we encourage to not wash your jeans. I know it does but believe me it can be done. You can spot clean it, you can air dry it, and it’s fine. I am yet to get a skin disease or anything else, it works.”
“If you talk to real denim aficionados they’ll tell you don’t wash your blue jeans, just take a sponge or toothbrush.”
The company has created a range of Wellthread products which use less energy and water and are easier to recycle. They’re also producing a line of “waterless” jeans which achieve the acid-wash look without using harsh bleach or chemicals. Here’s a snippet below of the awesome streetware push Levi’s are making into the skater market – Looks GOOD!