Levi’s Vintage Clothing, a collection that revisits retro pieces from the Levi’s Archives, is releasing a special “Inside-Out” take on the classic 501® jeans. As a teenager, former Levi’s CEO Bob Haas noticed that the reverse side of denim had an interesting silverfish hue. “I asked my father (then Levi Strauss & Co.’s president) if the company had ever thought of making jeans out of reverse-side denim,” Bob recalls in a press release, “and he said that they hadn’t.”
Bob’s father later asked a nearby Valencia Street facility to make the inside-out jeans that Bob proudly wore to school, causing quite the stir. Upon returning home, Bob realized that the indigo dye had rubbed off across his legs and underpants. “Very embarrassing! And the end of commercializing my idea,” he said. However, after several washes, the indigo wicking went down and the distinct silver hue of the jeans became one of his favorites. Decades later, Bob would share the story with Jonathan Cheung from BEAMS, serving as inspiration for the first official “Inside Out” collections.
The upcoming Levi’s jeans are a stitch-for-stitch reproduction of the straight-leg Levi’s 501 Jeans from 1963, complete with period-correct leather patches, red tabs, buttons, and rivets. Using the reverse side of deadstock 120z denim from Cone Mills White Oak, the last industrial-scale selvedge denim operation in the U.S, the pairs are crafted so that the light gray lining is on the outside and the Indigo denim is hidden on the inside.
The Levi’s “Inside-Out” 501 jeans will be available on 501 Day, May 20, marking the 149th-anniversary of Levi’s patent for riveted denim. A limited quantity of 501 pieces will be sold at Levi’s online store and flagship locations in Harajuku and Osaka for ¥46,200 JPY (approximately $357 USD).
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