Levi’s Altered collection puts customisation back in the hands of the pros
Cut and dry
Fashion is an industry largely allergic to object permanence. Most creative designers play musical chairs once every couple of years — the likes of prestige houses Dries Van Noten and Chanel notwithstanding. New trends emerge overnight and branded obsolete just as quickly, with one season's it-bag/heel/silhouette fading from memory and phasing out of a wardrobe rotation faster than you can say "Gucci Dionysus". In the same vein, old loves are often conjured, reconsidered with nips and tucks, a 360 in fabrication, maybe a tweak in shape, and then some.
Consider the American classics, Levi's 501 jeans and Trucker jacket — two pieces of fashion so iconic, its formidable staying power just as influential on an editor as it is on a humble pedestrian. They are never outgrown, never "out" even when they were relegated to the backseat in the early parts of the decade. Then, the streetwear boom happened, propelling them to front-page status again.
But millennials, unlike the generation that first embraced Levi's, is singing a different kind of blues. We're rolling the cuffs haphazardly, ironing dinosaur patches on the pockets, taking the ripped look to extreme ends with severe portions of the cloth snipped and tossed. Customisation is key.
So Levi's approach to the new construction (or should we say, deconstruction?) of its denim via the Altered collection can't come at a better time.
The Altered collection sees the fabric masters taking their bestsellers on a spin, remaking the women's 721 High Rise Skinny (above) with twisted seams, covered coin pockets and staggered shadow patches. It is then completed with darts and raw hems, but not before being dyed in washed-out black and tinted indigos. Her trucker jacket collars are no more; done away is also the 1.5-inch band that used to envelope the hip region.
The men's styles are equally impressive. See later, new renditions of the aforementioned trucker, along with 501s and 511s, pieced with authentically sourced vintage Levi's fabric, cut up, sewn and reworked into the beloved silhouette.
"We wanted to play with the idea of 'Altered' because it's something that people have always done with Levi's — modify them and customize them, make them their own," said Jonathan Cheung, Head of Designer at Levi's. "And Altered for us means literally altered, but it also means alternative and different, and it almost speaks to being socially alternative as well as physically alternative."
See the full Altered collection below: