Levi’s Historian Lynn Downey Presents 140 Years of the 501

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No. 01 / 28
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To celebrate 140 years of the iconic 501 jean, Levi’s Vintage invited a few of us over for an afternoon with the one and only Lynn Downey. An idol among denim fans, Lynn essentially built the Levi’s archive from scratch, developing what started off as a mish-mash of early denim and assorted paraphernalia into a comprehensive, sizeable collection reflecting the brand’s incredible history. Buying rare, early, one-off pieces, some found in dusty mines by the likes of Michael Harris, others bought from customers hoping to ‘upgrade’ to a new pair, the archive serves as the basis of LVC collections each season. Bringing along a selection of extraordinary pieces (as well as some white gloves, security ropes and a burly bodyguard) Lynn took us through the details, from fastenings and leather patches to rusted rivets and worn away arcuates. Classic versions of the 501 from the 30s, 50s and 80s (signed by Mick Jagger no less) as well as the most beautiful pair of 1890 ‘loose, anti-fit waist over-alls’, we also got a look at some great correspondence from Levi’s fans desperate to get hold of another pair of blues, including a post-war West Hampstead resident looking to trade for some authentic British goods. Still going strong, the 501 will never run out of steam, simply a great piece of design that transcends ‘trends.’

So, if you’d like to get up close and personal with some next level denim, head to the gallery for more.

Images: Ivan Ogilvie/Selectism.com

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