Amidst the ever-changing fashion world, there’s a rarefied cloth that remains timeless – Japanese denim. When a brand as iconic as Levi’s embraces this material, it signifies more than just a trend; it’s a testament to craft and legacy. This year, Levi’s introduces the Fall/Winter 2023 “Made in Japan” collection, harmonizing the finesse of Japanese artisanship with its iconic silhouettes.
One might wonder about the journey behind this majestic collection. A key factor in this synthesis of cultures has been Levi’s collaboration with KAIHARA DENIM Mills. Leveraging the illustrious Hiroshima mill’s top-tier selvedge denim, Levi’s has meticulously tailored the men’s and women’s collection, paying homage to the esteemed fabric’s rich history.
The transition to spotlighting Made in Japan denim highlights Levi’s forward-thinking perspective. The pivot serves a dual purpose. Firstly, it nestles the brand’s offerings into a more upscale category, especially after phasing out the Made & Crafted line. Secondly, it appreciates the unparalleled beauty of Japanese denim textures and its character.
For the discerning fashion enthusiasts, there’s a plethora of choices. Men can opt for the strikingly bold MIJ 1980s 501 or the tastefully distressed MIJ 511. Meanwhile, for women, selections range from the MIJ column to the relaxed MIJ HR boyfriend, and the chic MIJ barrel, all draped in a graceful medium wash. Amplifying the ensemble is the MIJ Classic Type II jacket for women and the MIJ Classic Type III for men – designed as versatile staples, suitable for myriad styling possibilities.
Drawing on inspiration from diverse shades of denim, Levi’s offers certain styles adorned with a distinctive arrow patchwork textile. A trademark of this collection is the multitude of nuanced details: a Made in Japan backpatch, an internal label reminiscent of the revered Hinomaru (Japan’s flag), and a symbolic indigo tab.
But the story behind Japan‘s association with denim delves deep into its past. It’s entwined with the nation’s resourcefulness during WWII, where constraints led artisans to handcraft apparel using ancient shuttle looms. As the 1950s saw the American pop culture phenomena, the Japanese seamlessly fused their centuries-old traditions of craftsmanship with the burgeoning denim trend, evolving and refining the technique.
Paul O’Neill, the Design Director of Levis Strauss & Co., aptly captured the sentiment, highlighting the finesse and rigor the Japanese have imparted into denim creation. They’ve rightfully earned their reputation as global leaders in this craft.
Earlier this year, a memorable collaboration took place. Levi’s joined forces with the illustrious Japanese streetwear connoisseur, Nigo, to launch a Made in Japan capsule collection commemorating the 501’s monumental 150th anniversary. The collection showcased the illustrious A Bathing Ape Founder and KENZO creative director’s prized archive item, the Hickory Stripe 501 jean.
To witness the exquisite melding of Levi’s legacy with Japanese craftsmanship, one need not look further than their Levis.com, app, or select storefronts. Epitomized through a vibrant campaign, set against Tokyo’s dynamic backdrop, the “Made in Japan” Collection seamlessly marries tradition with modernity.
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