by John Russel Jones

Everything old is new again at Levi’s, and in more ways than one. The iconic denim brand has introduced two new collections inspired by its archives, Denim Family, part of the Made and Crafted collection; and Blue Daze, a tribute to 1950s jazz artists and part of the brand’s Vintage Clothing collection.

Denim Cardigan
Pleated Denim Pant

All in the Denim Family

In the 1950s, Levi’s had a label called Denim Family that featured a range of denim jackets, trousers, shirts, and dresses with a sportswear-like interpretation of traditional denim styles designed to outfit the whole family. First released last season, Fall sees a modern, genderless spin that perfectly blends past, present, and future. The collection is cleanly and simply constructed with loose and wide-legged bottoms, while tops are soft-shouldered and drapey. The same denim fabric is used throughout the collection, featuring a rich, inky shade of indigo.

Boiler Suit

New elements include a denim cardigan, a drapey, denim take on the classic shawl collared cardigan sweater, a super wide-leg pleated denim pant, and a hooded smock with patch pockets that was inspired by an old military smock. There’s also the boiler suit, constructed like an old mechanic’s suit but with a voluminous leg shape created by center pleats at the waist. Pleats also feature in the new super wide pants, a voluminous wide-leg denim pant that uses pleating details to create an extreme, structural silhouette.

Chambray Shirt
Super Wide Pants

Every piece is made using a lightweight 2×1, grey weft selvedge construction (traditional denim uses a 3×1 construction, with three blue yarns used on the warp of the weave for every white yarn used on the weft) for a softer, more lightweight drape and feel. The entire collection launches on October 11th.  Pieces will retail from $248 – $448.

All that jazz

By the end of the 1950s, jazz began to develop a new and captivating sound. Ditching structure and pushing the form into improvisational and expressive new territory, a highly creative group of maverick artists revolutionized the musical form, as well as its look and cultural breadth. Levi’s Vintage Clothing celebrates these visionary musicians for Fall 2022 with a new collection called Blue Daze. The collection features a mix of sharp, tailored silhouettes and bold patterns and stripes that reflect both the crisp suiting and the casual style of these late ’50s and early ’60s innovators. The style is no stranger to the Levi’s archives: Elements like Levi’s Sta-Prest trousers and knitted Levi’s shirts, as well as dark rinse indigo Levi’s denim were very much part of the era’s defining aesthetic.

1940s split hem tee
embroidered trucker jacket
1960s sta-prest jags

This season’s Levi’s Vintage Clothing lineup includes both archival recreations as well as pieces inspired by this culturally important era. All of it comes in a color palette focused on neutrals, earth tones, and shades of blue. Shirts and tops feature bold geometric patterns, like the 1950s Harlequin Shirt with diamond print or the merino wool button-up with a blue block pattern. There’s also a striped 1950s-style tee that was inspired by piano keys, as well as a traditional Swedish Sweater, which is a nod to the popularity of modern jazz in Europe, especially Scandinavia.

Suede sherpa jacket

Tailoring elements in the collection include a corduroy suit with center-creased trousers and a three patch-pocket jacket that comes straight from the Levi’s archives, as well as a new 1960 Levi’s 501z jean that’s hemmed like trousers, starched, and center creased. There’s also a new Sta-Prest trouser style pant—rather than the traditional 5-pocket version—that’s slim, tapered, and cropped, and a classic wide-leg tailored Levi’s pant from the 1950s that comes in a geometric pattern of multiple shades of blue.

1950s zip cardigan
1960s Levi’s cord trousers

The men’s collection features a soft denim trouser with slash pockets and cuffed hem, as well as a classic dark indigo rinse 501. Also included is the 1920s-era Levi’s Balloon denim pant, just to show that, even in the 1950s, a vintage pair of Levi’s represented the pinnacle of style.

Levi’s Vintage retails for around $225 for wovens and $260 to $295 for jeans.

“This era of jazz really revolutionized music. I don’t believe psychedelic rock would have evolved as it did without the influence of modern jazz. There was freedom and experimentation, yet it still had a refined quality, says Paul O’Neill, Head Designer for Levi’s Made & Crafted and Levi’s Vintage Clothing. “That mix was reflected in the clothing these artists wore. It was such an important cultural moment, and we wanted to pay tribute to these musicians and celebrate their incredible style.”