Tuesday, 16 December 2008

LVC 1880s Nevada Jean

I got this pair from Levi's Japan online store called Levi's e-shop as part of their limited to 150 pairs domestic release only in conjunction with the launch of the online store. It was the first of a series of "expensive" jeans I would eventually came to own. It came in a nice "velvety" box with a leather suspender. Nevada Jean was basically one of the pre 20th Century Levi's jeans found in the state of Nevada. At one point in time, it was the oldest jean recorded, pre-dating the 501. It was bought by Levi's on May 2001 for USD 45,000.
However, as of 08, this position had been displaced, namely by "The 1873 XX First Blue Jean". A repro version, which is dyed with natural indigo, has been produced by LVC EU and limited to 300 pairs worldwide. There are also "The Oldest Oldest Jean", which looks the same as Nevada Jean except without the "tool pocket" on the left thigh, "1880s Knappave", also looks the same and has the same features as Nevada Jean except the leather patch is of darker colour. Nevada Jean is now recognised more of a Levi's work overall. The 1873 XX is now positioned as the "original ancestor", the great grand denim of all 501XXs. Then, there are the 1886 and 1890 as well. These two versions basically go without the "tool pocket" and the leather patch had "moved" to the right side instead of middle position. The 1886 version is where the leather patch featuring the famous two horses pulling the jean apart was first used. The 1890 version is to capture the first time Lot 501 was used to designate the jean, previously referred to as waist overall, as the rivet patent of which Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis first registered back in May 1873 had expired and was no longer exclusive. According to history, it is unknown why 501 numerical was chosen.
The cut of the Nevada is very workman-like overall , baggy and straight. I assumed it was dyed with pure synthetic indigo. Curiously, the waist shrunk only about half an inch after 1st warm soak and sun dried.
It is also thinner, lighter than other jeans I have owned thus far, about 9oz with cotton from Kurabo mill I assumed (It is not mentioned). Historically, the cottons were supplied by Amoskaeg Mill up to the 1922 version. From then onwards, the cottons were supplied by Cone Mills, using the famous red selvedge. From the 1927 version onwards, the Cone Mills supplied denim started to weight about 10oz (which is barely noticeable). As such the selvedge of this pair is reproduced in white as per the original Amoskaeg selvedge. The original Nevada would have a greener cast, as oppose to red cast from Cone Mills most likely because Amoskaeg dyed it in natural vegetable indigo.
There's a pocket watch instead of coin pocket and sits higher into the waistband then usual, buckle cinch back but without the actual razor sharp pointed edge for safety reason (lthe cinch lasted until 1937 version), suspender buttons all round (lasted until 1933 version), no belt loops (introduced in 1922) crotch rivet (lasted until 1937), copper inner rivets stamped with "Pat May 1873, LS&Co. SF", which represented the patent and "flathead" top rivets, instead of the modern era round top type.
The suspender buttons are adorned with "little stars" if looked at closely. No red "Levi's" tab (this was introduced on 1937 version onwards only to differentiate Levi's from competitors of that period but single sided with double sided introduced from 1955 version onwards), single back pocket with exposed rivets on the single right hand back pocket (two back pockets were introduced on 1901 version onwards, with the rivets being cover up and sewn on from 1937 version onwards and the back rivets lasted until 1966 version, replaced with bar tacks instead). The inner seams are "mock" felled instead (totally felled seams introduced from 1915 version only).
The famous "Arcuates" is single needle stitched, to give it a different appearance based on the needle operators (WW2 resource scarcity forced Levi's to use paint for S501XX 1944, and abolished from 501XX 1947, using only double stitched "diamond" arcuates to give a uniformed appearance) and in white. No one knows why the arcuates were design like a seagull (of which Evisu infamously copied). The waistband and leg opening are non chainstitched.
Finally, the leather patch comes with Victorian font type and very unlike the famous "Two Horses" (introduced in 1886 onwards), with sizes being hand written. After waiting for quite some time, I am glad to own a repro pair of the Nevada Jean in raw. I remembered reading about the news that Levi's had found the (then) oldest pair of jean back then. It captured my imagination totally.

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