The Levi Strauss & Co. story is such a significant part of history, not only thanks to its impact as workwear, but right through into music and pop-culture. So, such a long-lived household name would probably have one of the most special archives in the rag trade – In fact, the Levi’s archives in San Francisco houses thousands of items from their almost-150 year rich history. Picture a department stockpiled with vintage jeans, garments, marketing material, textile samples, packaging, promotional items, and so much more.
Each seasonal collection, the red tab’s reproduction line, ‘Levi’s Vintage Clothing’, stems their design from all of this wonderful history, straight out of the archive. Spring-Summer ’16 drew inspiration from the Levi’s company baseball team, “Elesco” (“L.S.&Co.” in colloquial form). The Elesco games date back to 1886, and Senior Designer Paul O’Neill based this collection on a photograph he stumbled upon of the company’s team in 1913.
[ The Elesco team photograph from 1913. ]
[ A vintage pant from the Levi Strauss & Co. Home Run sportswear range produced thanks to America’s love for baseball. ]
[ Levi Strauss & Co. Promotional material from the San Fransisco Archives. ]
In light of all this excitement, Levi’s invited our denim-loving friends at Heddels to tour Paul’s design office and the archives at their HQ in San Francisco. So I hope you enjoy the document as much as I did. It paints a rich picture into what exciting things go on behind-the-scenes in the design department not only at Levis, but at many other of your favourite labels you probably love too. Most labels are super secretive about their mood-boarding and inspiration process so take this as a rare opportunity. Lead by Paul himself, the video shows many of the original pieces that led to the Elesco line as well as an introduction to the company’s vintage curator and archivist, Anastasia Fink.
[ Senior Designer Paul O’Neill examines a pair of heavily repaired jeans from their archive. ]