We Style

A Homage to the Blue Jean

posted by on 02/06/2013

Last week we celebrated the 140th birthday of the iconic 501 jean, this week we’re paying homage to the blue jean in our own special way. Of course, we’d tie in our city into it. No place like home, baby. When you think denim, you naturally think Levi’s. I know the post modern ‘hipster’ would respond with [insert Japanese selvedge denim brand] and New Balance sneakers. It’s the current contrived combination that seems to be going around, for me – it’s always been about Levi’s. Not just because of their strong clean branding (I’m a design nerd like that) but for the comfort and versatility.

Have a gander in your wardrobe, it doesn’t matter where you are in the world – you’re bound to have a pair of blue jeans in there. However the originals were created in the west coast of America by a Bavarian immigrant who goes by the name of Levi Strauss. You may have heard of him, I’d be worried if you haven’t.

Since its creation in 1873, Levi’s 501® jean has evolved greatly throughout the 140 years, adapting to the current conditions across the different eras of time. Not even Levi’s are 100% sure why their 501 jeans are so called, until around 1890 which featured a cinched back and buttons for braces was designated XX on its leather patch which was industry term for highest quality.

Initially the overalls were created for the miners and cowboys of the American West, the first pair of jeans incorporated copper rivets into the pants for a stronger hold. Jeans proved to be the ideal, super strong garment for miners and cowboys, 70 years the 501s were symbolic – each of leather patches were now branded with Levi’s instead of XX. Over time, jeans became the most iconic and versatile garment of the twentieth century and today we’ll show you how it adapts to our lives and styles in London. Even 140 years, the blue jean versatility helps us do our daily deeds in all our different journeys through life.

If you’d like to know more about the brand’s history, click here.

Derek

Not only is Somerset House one of London’s major arts and cultural landmarks but twice a year the courtyard attracts countless models, designers, photographers and followers of fashion. My decision to pay homage to the Blue Jean against this iconic backdrop stems from my first exposure to the world of fashion. I made my first ‘pilgrimage’ to Somerset House a few years ago, when a friend/fashion writer from New York asked me to tag along and it was here I began to appreciate ‘style’ (and develop my own).

My smart/casual outfit was ‘inspired’ by the extremely comfortable fit of the Levi 520s; narrow on the legs (perfect compliment for footwear) yet comfy on the top. I decided opt for a pair of dark indigo denim which I paired with a slightly darker de-constructed jacket layered with a camo jumper & shirt combo. These particular 520’s have a more delicate/thinner denim; great for a more relaxed look when grabbing a coffee to escape the hustle and bustle of London.

(p.s the glasses are not for aesthetic reasons)

From our faux Japanese ninja to our real Japanese family member, Annabel. Our only non-London based family member.

Annabel

My brother and I used to skip school and head into London for the day, and we’d often end up at Oxford Circus, so some of my first memories of London are from around here. Topshop Oxford Circus is also where I got my first job as a teenager, and now, my first ‘real’ job is just a few minutes away on Berners Street.

To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I wore blue denim as I’ve been living in my black skinnies, so it made for a nice change. Thanks to Levi’s Curve ID these fit perfectly. I’m not really sure what can be said about my look… I most definitely was having a ‘dress down’ day. Of course, I’m wearing my Converse high tops! The Mulberry bag was a graduation gift from my (amazing) Mum and the jumper isn’t mine.

Look how happy she is. Now my turn, I’ve been a Londoner for all my life and my favourite place tends to change on a yearly basis. Especially as I discover new parts of the city, yesterday was the very first time I headed down to Brixton Village in my 24 years in the city. Crazy.

Yin

Why St. Pauls? It’s architecture stands proud just outside of the heart of London’s banking district where all the buildings are modernised. There’s just something about it that makes me want to photograph/Instagram it every time I walk by. The reason I picked it goes beyond that though, it’s down to my work place being around the corner in Farringdon and my gym being in St. Pauls so I’ve ended up spending a crap load time there in the past six months. Though it’s Zone 1, it’s a quiet part of London where you can escape from the chaos of W1. If I had the money, I’d live somewhere between Barbican and St. Pauls – there’s something beautiful about the brutalist architecture and it’s nice how it’s halfway between the city and Hipsterville in Old Street/Shoreditch.

Just like Annabel, I rarely wore blue jeans. Black was my go to colour, so convenient and always goes perfectly with my usual all black ensemble. However I’ve grown to love these 508s, especially after I got them custom fitted at the Levi’s Tailor Shop within the flagship store in London. All it cost was £5 to get it fitted for my size. Perfect.

Excuse the beard (RIP), I went for the Chewbecca meets Ivy League look with the facial hair and varsity jacket combination. You can never go wrong in Flyknits either, one of the most comfortable sneakers I’ve ever been in. Certainly boosts my daily commute.

From Yin to Yang.

Yang

 You’re probably wondering where the hell this is, just pick up your tube map and look for Royal Victoria Dock on the DLR and you’re there! I picked this location because I grew up practically around the corner/20mins walk away… and I hung out a lot around here when I was a kid. Back then, half the buildings there now did not exist. We used to ride our bikes down there and climb some of the buildings, while some of my friends liked to jump in the docks and go swimming *shudders*.

When there aren’t any events going on the Excel, this area is so quiet; I find it quite relaxing to be here. But as you’ve quite possibly gathered from the GIF, I was just SO happy to be here this time so I just couldn’t relax. We shot this over the weekend so my look is quite dressed down. I’d just call it standard Yang on a Saturday. It can’t always be a suit and tie ting I don’t care what JT says.

Amon

When I started writing about films, I quickly realised that Leicester Square is the hub for movies – most of my screenings take place there, in addition to big film premieres – so in terms of what location I was going to pick for my shoot, it was a no-brainer. It wasn’t too long ago that I was regularly wearing baggy jeans, but my family (as well as the always well-dressed Y&Y team) inspired me to switch it up a little. As such, I am now all about the form-fitting clothes, and I could not be happier with the Levi 511’s. They’re extremely comfortable, look smart, and I love the colour too. Perfect.

Tahirah

For almost as long as I could hold a pen, I’ve been a writer. From nicking exercise books from school to pen my elaborate stories to typing words whenever I get a chance, it was written for me to write. For almost as long as I’ve been a writer, Levi jeans have been a staple in my wardrobe (what can I say, I was a pretty fly kid). The durability of my kiddie 501 were tested to their very core in my childhood adventures, and I thought I was too cool rocking the Levi’s Twisted Engineered collection during my teen years. My latest pair of Levi’s are made to fit my curves and are just as durable as my very first pair.

When wearing my Levi’s while shooting one of my hidden gems in London – the seldom-noticed ‘beach’ overlooking the Thames on the Blackfriars end of the Southbank – I kept my look as simple as someone who has a penchant for patterns can be. I teamed the jeans with a pair of adidas high-tops and a plain black leotard for the core look. I added pattern and texture with my asos jacket, then vibrancy and colour by wrapping my hair in a piece of material from West Africa. The look wasn’t complete without my trusty notepad – used for dream-catching, future-planning and musing in random pockets of the world, including that very spot on the Southbank.

Aaron

Between the ages of about twelve and sixteen I wanted to be an architect, not because I had a raging passion for architecture or even much of an understanding of it but because the education system made me feel as if I had to have a career planned out from as young as possible. Now before I start slewing the problematic education system I need to get back on track, the point I am trying to make is that I do have an interest in architecture and so picking the inside of the Victoria and Albert Museum as the location for my shoot was mainly based on this. I love some of the stairways in the V&A, which I actually only visited for the first time a few months ago. They were a great location for my look that I felt was casual with a dash of elegance.

The Levi’s 520′s are slim fitting but not skin tight skinny, which is just how I like anything I am wearing on my legs to fit, the crown jewels should be secure but not crushed! I wanted to show that a pair of classic Levi’s can be dressed up as easily as down but still worn within a casual environment. With this in mind I dressed them alongside a classic navy jacket and white shirt, some navy Dr Marten’s shoes with my jean cuff rolled up to display my lovely red socks and a patterned scarf as a subtle statement piece.

Nike

Russell Square will always have a special place in my heart. Without sounding too ‘deep’ I feel like it symbolises my growth and is located in the centre of three places that have given me that growth. The first place is Senate House library, where I spent the better part of my three years studying for my History degree. I’d walk to the Square most days and have my lunch there. The second place is the British Museum where my boyfriend and I went on our first date and find ourselves visiting quite frequently.Sometimes after our gander around the Museum we’d walk to Russell Square sit on a bench and talk for hours. Last but not least is my Church, which is about a 10 minute walk from the Square and somewhere that I can easily call home. Whenever I walk through Russell Square, I’m always reminded of how much I’ve grown over the past couple of years, and how Russell Square is in someway a testimony to that.

Practically all my jeans are high waisted, so the Levi High Rise Skinny Jeans are a perfect add on as they go with everything in my wardrobe. I love my day to day looks to be clean and minimal but I like to have a little fun as well. I paired my Levi’s with my extremely warm and long Reiss coat, a structured sheer t-shirt from Monki for texture, and my Nike vintage racer Montreals for colour.

Hope you enjoyed. We’re dropping another style feature in a few days time. Stay tuned, keep connected with Levi’s UK through the links below:

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  • PHOTOGRAPHY BY: YIN
  • SPECIAL THANKS TO: STEPHANIE @ LEVI'S, JACQUI @ EXPOSURE
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