Selectism Q&A | Levi’s Made & Crafted

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Levi’s Made & Crafted was founded on a simple premise – “Modern items based on the principles of good design.” In that mission, the Levi’s DNA forms a backbone for forward thinking approaches to classic garments and accessories, all of which privileges the right fabrics and the correct manufacturing. For Autumn 2011 the line, now in its second full season, has expanded to include knits, shirting, and a special capsule collection of “Made in the USA” denim. The looks are contemporary and fresh, but with a decidedly familiar feel; the balance of new and old in the pieces struck admirably.

We caught up with the Amsterdam based Made & Crafted design team to chat about the Autumn 2011 collection and to see what the future holds for the line.

Our discussion, and some fine garments, after the jump.

In an interview from May of last year, the mission of Made & Crafted was stated as essentially springing from the same origins as LVC but looking forward. Does that still apply to the overall conception of the line?

Yes, Levi’s Made & Crafted is a modern take on clothing and accessories that are inspired by vintage pieces in the Levi’s archive. Levi’s Vintage Clothing (LVC) looks at the past and recreates a collection around it, while Made & Crafted interprets history with a modern collection, using quality materials and staying true to classic clothing construction.

Talk through the Field Parka, what are some of the elements you’ve brought into the design?

This garment dyed cotton twill parka is one of our favorite pieces in the collection. It has washed buffalo horn buttons and hood pockets for ear protectors like on old army jackets, except in our version you can stick headphones through the holes. It’s a classic, rugged military-inspired parka, unlined for a clean finish. For more warmth, we love pairing it with the navy Knit Zip Through sweater.

This season (Autumn 2011) also includes shirting, knitwear and leather accessories. Where does the inspiration spring for these items?

Made & Crafted Fall11′s inspiration comes from the last lines of Robert Frost’s poem ‘The Road Not Taken’, published 1916. The collection is about opposites. Like Frost himself, it’s West Coast and East Coast, Farmer and Poet. And, in our attention to detail, it means crafting our products a little differently.

In a nutshell, like the two roads, we take opposite directions: Military Academy (West Point) and workwear, country and city, and mash them together to create energy.

There are some great bags coming as well. The arcuate is hidden in Made and Crafted denim (sewn on the inside), are there similar quirks of design in the bags?

The Made & Crafted bag collection is a mixed collection of carry-all totes with all of the design details a luxury brand would offer. We think these bags should be cherished and carried every day; they will become more and more beautiful over the years as they show their signs of wear. The tote is the most basic form of a bag, but that doesn’t mean it’s boring. We’ve combined sturdy fabrics like natural canvas and leather which will wear in over time, allowing the user to give life to the tote.

The colors we chose for our bags are inspired by workwear, tools, and tool belts. The tactile offerings draw inspiration from Levi’s history and the past and present utility of workwear; it’s function, detail and craftsmanship. Some bags also have added technical aspects, like a water resistant coating.

As the collection expands – there is, for example, even a sub-collection with the “Made in the USA” denim – how do you go about finding the correct manufacturers to ensure that the fabrication matches the quality of the design?

Selections are made with greater importance placed on the people rather than the specific machinery. We approach product with an end to end view. For example in the “Made in the USA” capsule collection, we selected fabrics considering every aspect from fit, cut, wash, and fair pricing throughout the process to produce products for the customer that are equally compelling from both the aspects of design and production.

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