Taking cover in counter culture

Levis 505

I’m so conflicted about LFW! I’m forever being told by brands that consumers don’t care about catwalk coverage. They want fashion that they can relate to and often don’t even realise it’s Fashion Week. Or more likely, it seems to be Fashion Week all the time. With the landscape changing, this LFW is going to be very different. I preferred Fashion Week when it was a trade show, a research opportunity and a place to network. As another opportunity to persuade people to impulse buy more stuff they don’t need? Hmmm, it’s all a bit too hard sell and makes me want to run away and hide until it’s all over!

So I might skive off and see some exhibitions amidst the frenzy. The big one for me is You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970 at the V&A (until 26th Feb 2016), which looks at the counter culture movement of the late 60s and its impact on today. Fashion designers love to reference counter culture and no wonder, it’s where true creativity flourishes. It’s that romantic ideal of believing in something because it moves you rather than because it will make you millions. (Could the early days of blogging be considered a counter culture? Discuss…)

The exhibition is sponsored by Levi’s, which is enjoying a renewed moment of relevance. Levi’s has always been cool even when it wasn’t fashionable. (Note: cool and fashionable – not the same thing!) It’s the original jean after all, made for getting messy in, whether you’re mining for gold, raving in a field or moshing pogoing at a punk gig.

Levi's 505 worn by The Ramones

While the 501 has kept its cachet through troughs and peaks of denim trends, Levi’s has copied the trajectory of trainer brands such as Adidas and Nike, by revisiting some other classics for this generation. Latest is the Levi’s 505c, a variation of the 505 jeans worn by Debbie Harry and the Ramones in the 1970s. It’s a similar cut to the 501, with a zip rather than a button fly for a more flattering, flat-fronted fit. Its slim-legged shape is just right for today’s gender-fluid moment, but the best thing is it comes in lots of variations, from black (‘Deedee’) to rigid indigo (‘Elvis’) to the déshabillé, ripped and torn ‘Joey’. One to wear while perusing the V&A’s psychedelic poster art with a well-read copy of Days In The Life (aka my counter culture bible) tucked under your arm…

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Disneyrollergirl; Roberta Bayley
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