Monday, 15 December 2008

LVC 501XX 1955

Here, everyone seemed to wear Levi's, whether it is legit version or otherwise, which are available in abundance. From a nu age "char kuey teow" hawker at a food court to an "ang moh" president of an XYZ company, Levi's as the numero uno denim brand here is undisputed. Lee? Maybe I would see one once or twice a year. Edwin? Heh, maybe the Indonesian site workers. Wrangler? Wotz Dat? Which is why when it comes to denim, Levi's has so much so entrenched in the mind of an everyman that Levi's = denim, denim = Levi's. Their stores had cropped up in every major malls in the past few years, with a handful which are deemed "flagship" stores, which carried the line which I am still keen in, Levi's Vintage Clothing or LVC which was introduced in 1996.
Back in the mid 90s I supposed, Levi's began to release a limited quantities of raw repro denim to the market. It met with success and thus the LVC line was born. The LVC line supposedly re-issued/re-produced each jeans according to their year of introduction. Currently there are raw as well as worn, torn, aged versions. Each jeans supposedly carried with them a particular "evolution" from the preceding version. So many infos had been written about them, Levi's "gurus" (self appointed or otherwise) can practically tell a real "vintage" worn Levi's based on the itsy bitsy details of difference. A good reference would be Repeat To Fade blog. A genuine "vintage" Levi's would cost a bomb though, especially in Japan, the asking price for a pair would usually starts from 100,000 JPY onwards. Then comes the details, and in particular, is the denim fabric from the original Amoskeag or Cone Mills and so forth.
I owned one pair of LVC 501XX 1955 repro currently and a pair of 1880s Nevada. I used to have the 1947 version as well but thought the cut is unbelievably skinny. A "hipster" might love a 47 but not me. The '55 would eventually become sorta "template" which I compared the cut from others against. Not too skinny, abit tapered, boxy seat, mid high rise waist. The 50s also happened to be one of my favourite year (although it would be 30 years later I would only come into existence).

Since they are non-sanforized and shrink to fit, I find that generally, the EU produced LVC 501XX raw denim are made for oil riggers, lumberjacks, Hyborian men type in mind, which was why I chose to get my '55 from LVC Japan instead since Nipponese is generally more smallish due to their cramped environment heh. I not sure whether LVC EU going to rectify it but LVC Japan generally also captured more accurate details for repro purpose such as the off-center belt loop (to ease up some time consuming work of stichin it through the middle yoke I suppose).

Denim quality wise, I am not sure and am assuming it is the same. However, LVC EU's denim is generally thought to have come from the famous Cone Mills only. The '55 denim weight at around 10 oz, with "banana yellow diamond pointed" arcuates (introduced from 1947 version onwards to standardized the design), which is not really important to me but to a denim "otaku", it makes hell of a difference and represent a piece of Levi's denim history. Covered up back pockets rivets (replaced with bar tacking from version 1966) and no longer comes with a crotch rivet. It is red selvedge with chain stitched hem. Also, the "Levi's" red tag on the right hand back pocket is capital "E", sewn on both sides which historically, first carried out from "somewhere" in the early 50s onward. All previous versions did not have double sided branding. The small alphabet "e" would appear from version 1971 onwards. Lastly, the '55 patch is no longer leather but instead, a "leather-like paper". It doesn't felt like paper though but would easily tear off more than leather as more washes are carried out. Ironically, leather was replaced as it was thought that the then "new" washing machine would be damaging to it, as well as to cut cost.

I presoaked the pair once with warm water for about 2 hours top, and sun dried it as usual, but regretfully, I was too hasty in getting it hemmed to my desired length...resulting in losing the chain stitch details..oh, well.


charles darwin said...

hello there,I wondered if you could give me some info as it seems like you may be the best person to ask,I'm in scotland and my friend is travelling to harajuku for a couple of days,I've asked her to get me a pair of lvc 55's but she doesn't know what shops to go to,do you have any idea where she could go? any info would be appreciated

Fat Gecko said...

Hi Charles Darwin. I checked Levi's Japan website ( under storefinder, it shows there is a store located within Harajuku itself. Here is the path :
It has all the store listings. Just click on the Tokyo Metropolitan area on the map. It should carry LVC 501XX 1955 raw. To ensure the size is correct, this is their online store path :
Just search for 501XX 1955 under LVC and click on the sizing tag. If you are going for raw unwash, remember to minus 5cm (1 inch = 2.5cm) from the size indicated in order to get your right size. Hope this helps.

charles darwin said...

Sorry bit late in replying, thanks so much for the info, really appreciated mate. Also thanks for the advice on sizing, I like to wear my jeans kinda baggy, usually wear carhartt (don't laugh,shops here suck) so based on what you wrote about the 55's I assumed they would be my best bet (mid/high rise), so I think I might size up two to be sure, just hope I dont regret it later. I looked at the store finder and found a shop in harajuku where my friend is going but I cant read kanji so I'm wondering how I'll tell her the exact address... anyway cheers for the reply and answering my query.

Fat Gecko said...

No problem. Unfortunately, I don't read Japanese either, I usually rely on Google translate, which admittedly could be confusing at times. I re-enter the site but I could not copy or paste it. Sorry. This is a suggestion, maybe you could forward the phone number indicated to your friend or maybe to seek help from the locals there? About sizing, there is a lot of different opinion and all comes down to individual preference. For example, some friends of mine like to wear it abit skinny in order to achieve fantastic fades within six months. As such, they buy it one size up ie if their waist is 30 inch, they buy 31 inch raw or even 30. It would be tight after first soaking but through continuous wear, it would stretch, at least 1/2 inch. Personally I like roomier thigh and waist, so I went what is generally advise by the size chart which is minus 2 inches from the raw size. I have read some serious denim maniacs in forums like Supertalk buy their Levi's undersize. However, LVC from US or EU are usually made larger and eventually, whatever size chart indicated under the webstore is the only option we have to estimate the right size for ourselves. Hope this help.