Tag Archives: Levi’s
You’d think a couture gown or Savile Row suit was the ultimate luxury but I can think of something even better. Stationed at the back of Levi’s London flagship store is its recently introduced Lot No. 1 made–to-order jeans service. The answer to every denim connoisseur’s prayers, it’s a meticulously executed personal service that puts the customer at its heart. And I imagine it could become quite addictive.
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that however vast the choice of jeans available to us, the search still continues for The Ones. That’s certainly true in my case – however close I think I’ve come to perfection, I’ve still not quite reached denim nirvana. So Lot No. 1 exists for denim nitpickers like me. Let’s be clear, this is for lovers of deep detail, choice and provenance. (As such, it’s also reserved for those with deep pockets – the service comes at a flat cost of £500.) You start by choosing your denim from beautifully presented swatch books. “The real denim heads tend to choose Cone Mills denims (a raw selvedge American denim), that’s the choice of the denim purists,” explains my host, master tailor Lizzie Radcliffe, a Savile Row transplant whose love of utilitarian clothing brought her to Levi’s. “Our Japanese customers go for the heaviest weights, they like breaking them in.”
For each swatch you can see what it will look like after a certain number of washes, a crucial detail in the first stage of choosing your denim. Next you select your rivets and buttons, again the choice is yours (from seven colours and two styles), followed by colour of threads. There are 20 thread colours to choose from, with navy thread on navy denim considered to be the smartest option. And yes, you can even choose your colour of leather patch from a choice of twelve, including one vegan. I absolutely loved geeking out over all the finer details (four different choices of cotton for the inner pockets – because hey, these things matter!). I think the one-to-one learning process and the unhurried method of choosing your components are as much part of the package as the finished ‘made for you’ jeans.
Having chosen the denim, threads and buttons, it’s time to work on the actual cut and fit of jeans. For some, this is the crux of the service. There are samples available in all waist and rise sizes, which can be tried on and then adjusted. “Slim, straight jeans are the most requested cut, although carrot jeans are popular too,” says Lizzie, who also points out the importance of discussing how they’ll be washed and worn because that affects how the jeans will sit on your waist. (“Most people say they won’t wash them for the first two months.”) The higher the rise, the lower the size seems to be the rule of thumb, and although clients are encouraged to try on all the different sizes, Lizzie is more than adept at sizing them up with a precision glance.
Surprisingly, the ratio of men to women using the service is a massive 95% male majority aged 25-40. “It’s men with sporty thighs, short guys, wider men,” says Lizzie. Which is understandable; if you’re a non-standard size, why wouldn’t you want made-to-measure jeans that you know will fit you perfectly? Of course, as well as money, you need time; this is no overnight rush job. Working mostly on her own, Lizzie takes 4-6 weeks to turn around a pair of jeans depending on how in demand the service is.
One friend pointed out that Levi’s is supposed to be egalitarian. It’s the ultimate in utility workwear after all, so doesn’t it go against the brand ethos to make elite £500 jeans? It’s a valid point but I don’t see it as a frippery. From the fabrics sourced from the best mills globally, to the vintage machines – stitching machines, overlockers, rivet and button attachers – you’re looking at the best of everything to do the job. As such, these jeans are made to last so aren’t a ‘fashion’ buy so much as a shrewd investment. One that will earn its keep cost-per-wear, and improve with age for years to come.
Levi’s Lot No. 1 is available at Levi’s Regent Street, London. For an appointment or information, email email@example.com
Blouse, SportMax Code///T-shirt, LVC
Vintage sweatshirt, Blitz London///T-shirt, LVC///Blouse, SportMax Code
Blouse, SportMax Code///T-shirt, LVC
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The Mr Porter international sale went live today – at last! The US sale started a few days ago but I’ve had a look and there are still some crumbs left for the rest of us.
As usual, I’ve hunted out the pieces that I think work for both guys and girls, so here’s my edit of what we can steal. Personally, I’m all about the Raf Simons knit and the LVC pocket tee. A classic cotton pocket tee is stupidly hard to come by these days so I stockpile these when I see them…
CLICK THE PICTURES TO SHOP THE EDIT. THIS POST USES AFFILIATE LINKS
I’m not a great fan of faded denim. Given the choice, I prefer my jeans stiff, dark and densely pigmented. And as traditional faux-fading processes are found to be harmful to their makers and the environment, fashion is finally catching up with me.
One of the suggestions Levi’s makes is to wash jeans less, using only cold water. Funnily enough, this is something I’ve done for years. Using only a tiny bit of detergent, I soak jeans in a bucket of water then rinse, roll in a towel and dry flat. But mostly I try to avoid washing them at all, which is obviously much easier if they’re dark to start with (yeah, it helps if you’re a bit of a scruff).
As it happens, my favourite inky-hued jeans are back online at Netaporter.com. I have these Levi’s Made & Crafted chino jeans already in indigo and khaki but will be buying another pair of the indigo as I wear mine a lot. If you want a dark wash jean that’s versatile enough to wear all year round (day to night, dressed up or down, yada yada) then I’d thoroughly recommend these…
Buy Levi’s Made & Crafted jeans at Netaporter.com
My resolution for next year is to be a bit braver with colour and print. I used to love layering busy Kenzo-type prints but over the years I’ve got lazier and more classic in what I wear. This year, fashion has truly been ‘Bubbled’, with Susie Bubble‘s clashy colour-meets-print-meets-texture influence reaching far and wide and well into 2012. Continue reading
What’s not to love about this picture? I adore the XXXL fit of the jeans, super-crunchy, stiff denim with not an ounce of stretch and the paperbag-like cinched waist. And the abbreviated proportions of the silky top (loose but well-fitting on the shoulders). The boots didn’t go down well on The Sartorialist but I actually think they bring the outfit into the 21st century. My bugbear is they’re fighting with the hem of the jeans, so if they were just an inch shorter (the boots not the jeans), the look would be more harmonious. But the overall effect of the outfit with the beautiful curls and retro red lip is nothing short of wonderful. What do you think?
[Image: The Sartorialist.com]
“Details make the design. Our buttondown buttons, like the 1920’s Levi’s® Sunset shirts they were inspired by, are hidden. It’s more difficult, more time consuming, and more beautiful that way.”
Sony was really cool when I was growing up (hey, they invented the Walkman and had a great logo). Even though their products got less reliable over the years I still have an allegiance to them, I can’t help it. Maybe it’s because Big Audio Dynamite wrote a song about them.
And now, Nails Inc has collaborated with Coke to launch the Diet Coke City Collection of nail polishes. WTF has Diet Coke got to do with nails? Not a lot, but I really don’t care. I’m not even a Nails Inc fan but I will be making it my business to nab one of those ruby red bottles. That’s the power of the brand for ya.
Last week I blogged about the heritage of Dr Martens. This week, the heritage baton gets passed to Levi’s. I was treated to a pre-opening store tour of the refurbed Regent Street flagship a couple of weeks ago and the main message seems to be… Levi’s is keepin’ it real.
From its industrial factory-replica refit to its new name for its denim experts – ‘drapers’ and ‘artisans’, Levi’s has realised that its customers respect its roots and is capitalising on that. OK, the ‘artisans’ moniker is a wee bit pretentious but I’m prepared to let that go. For a while, Levi’s was guilty of trying too hard to compete with the Diesels of this world but – guess what? – Levi’s isn’t about ‘sexy’, it’s about utilitarianism and authenticity. Thankfully, it is now properly embracing its workwear heritage and amen to that. A particular highlight of the flagship store (along with the visible warehouse dedicated to 501s) is a 90-something-year-old pair of Levi’s on display in the basement. Unearthed from a mine in the Mojave Desert, I ask you, how many other denim brands can boast one of these?
When I previewed the SS10 collection six months ago, I was overjoyed to see so many old favourites. Hello classic denim jacket sans faux-faded patches! Hello western plaid shirt! Hello straight-out-of-CBGBs leather biker jacket! The Guardian recently reported that Levi’s will never be cool again but I disagree. Acne may be popular with fashionistas and Uniqlo with the downtown hipster set but Levi’s has its incredible heritage and that makes it relevant again (BTW, ‘relevance’, like ‘heritage’ is a key word being bandied about right now). Its latest campaign is also a bit of a looker. As a lifelong supporter I may be biased, but I think Levi’s is ready to have it’s moment once more.