To celebrate the 126th birthday of the 501 jean, Levi’s is releasing a series of documentaries following its influence. In the fourth episode, we explore Japan’s immense relationship with the brand and Americana culture. As Cowboy and Motorcycle movies gained popularity in the West, so did the Levi’s jeans featured in them. Japan fell in love with these films, but couldn’t replicate their styles because jeans were so rare. Enthusiasts then went to America to bring back as many Levi’s as they can, which marked the birth of jean collectors and Japanese Americana.
According to designer Fumika Uchida, “There are no rules regarding the 501, so it is easy for the 501s to intertwine with Japanese culture.” Considering Japan had an outsiders view, their interpretation of America became so distinct it influenced the rest of the world and even America itself. Narrated by skate and surf legend, Craif Stecyk, the documentary takes us through interviews with Nigo of BAPE, Shinsuke Takizawa of NEIGHBORHOOD, Erik Brunetti of FUCT, and more. We also get a peek into private collections featuring things like Levi’s jeans before belt loops, a model tailored for a clown on stilts, and vintage promotional banners made of denim. Check out the other episodes of the documentary here.