by John Russel Jones

Japanese streetwear pioneer and Human Made founder Nigo is a serious Levi’s collector. (The polymathic talent is also the founder of A Bathing Ape, the creative director of Kenzo, as well as a disc jockey and entrepreneur.) Last summer the designer created stitch-by-stitch replicas of two of his favorite archival pieces for a Levi’s x NIGO collaboration. This season Levi’s unveils a new collaboration with Nigo’s brand, Human Made.  

The Levi’s x Human Made collaboration brings modern recreations of classic Levi’s silhouettes to life in a traditional Japanese setting. The collection features two of Human Made’s favorite fits: the 1944 Levi’s 501 Jeans and a Levi’s 506 Trucker Jacket. Both the jean and the jacket are Made in Japan and are featured in a campaign created by the designer and shot in the historic Eirakukan Kabuki Theater in Japan’s Kansai region. Built in 1901, it is the oldest Kabuki theater in Japan that is still standing in its original location, and, along with traditional Kabuki actors and elements, is the perfect setting for the past-meets-present approach to the collaboration. 

The back of the trucker jacket — which comes in pre-shrunk 15-ounce Japanese selvedge denim — features an embroidered Human Made logo with the brand’s “Gears for futuristic teenagers” tag line, as well as a Levi Strauss & Co. logo in Levi’s red. There’s also a custom embroidered version of the iconic Human Made duck that was created specifically for this collection. The duck is in flight, with the shape of the wings invoking the famous arcuate stitching on the back pocket of every Levi’s jean. There’s also a small red tip on the right wing of the duck that serves as a nod to the classic Levi’s Red Tab. 

The jeans come in 15-ounce Japanese shrink-to-fit selvedge denim and feature all the classic 501 details — the Levi’s Red Tab, the leather Two-Horse backpatch, and the iconic arcuate back pocket stitching, which is painted on, a detail consistent with the original 1944 501 Jean. Both the 501 Jean and the Trucker feature Levi’s x Human Made co-branded shank buttons and come with co-branded Levi’sx Human Made hangtags. The denim for both pieces was developed in a Japanese artisan mill using traditional Levi’s manufacturing techniques. 

The Levi’s x Human Made 1944 501 Jean ($295 retail) and Levi’s X Human Made 506 Trucker Jacket ($490 retail) will both be available on April 7th exclusively on the Levi’s App.