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johnmc

Vintage Denim?

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When I first came on this forum 5 years ago the big topic was vintage denim (the real thing), now it seems to be all about the repros, is there anyone left on here that still wears vintage denim regularly?

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When I first came on this forum 5 years ago the big topic was vintage denim (the real thing), now it seems to be all about the repros, is there anyone left on here that still wears vintage denim regularly?

I have three original Lee jackets, one that I wear fairly regularly.

It's more about repros now because most originals (esp. Levis, Lee and early Bluebell Wrangler) are either worth too much money to wear (sold from collector to collector) Or they are on their way to becoming threadbare or unwearable.

I started wearing/obsessing/collecting vintage denim back in the early eighties, but sold the lot due to high prices they were going for.

Wish i hadn't sold some pieces, but thank god for repros - an affordable alternative to fill the void.

.

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Like the Dr, I started out wearing vintage; even when it was fasionable you could pick up stuff cheap, including a piar of concealed rivet big Es that I found in Camden mis-priced at £18.95 (I've since, er, lost them). But I think I actually prefer wearing repros... it's the luxury of actually wearing the right size, and I like wearing them in from new.

Jackets can still be a bargain, though. Lee, 1970s, £13.50:

dadlee.jpg

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im with them... i wear vintage jackets now, but for jeans repros are just easier.

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But I think I actually prefer wearing repros... it's the luxury of actually wearing the right size, and I like wearing them in from new.

This is the whole point of repros, although with Lvc it's the luxury of actually getting the right size!

:D

.

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To me repros are something totally different - fashion jeans based on original workwear - the denim can never be the same.

I wear 70's 501 redlines on a daily basis, I don't have too much trouble finding my size and they're considerably cheaper than LVC, Sugar Cane etc

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To me repros are something totally different - fashion jeans based on original workwear - the denim can never be the same.

I wear 70's 501 redlines on a daily basis, I don't have too much trouble finding my size and they're considerably cheaper than LVC, Sugar Cane etc

Any 501 made after '66 is just a sorry excuse of a vintage jean, IMO.

At least with repros, they use good quality denim made on the original looms. The trouble with 1970's-90's 501's is the fluffier/bulkier denim, which doesn't wash'n'wear as well as the earlier stuff.

I thought you were into vintage jeans?

:)

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As for pricing... I sold my last pair of horrible, sting-style, bleached out late 70s 501 (remember these had sulphur in the dye) for £130 and bought some sammies with the $$$$. Those, or a 55 LVC, or any SC, are infinitely superior.

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Paul T, I'm surprised you got $130 for those!

I disagree with '66 being a cut off point for good Levis, they were using the same denim and dyes on early 70's single stitch 501's and 505's. It was the change of dyes in the 70's that seemed to change the denim so much.

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Buying new reproduction rather than used vintage should also mean greater longevity

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Paul T, I'm surprised you got $130 for those!

I disagree with '66 being a cut off point for good Levis, they were using the same denim and dyes on early 70's single stitch 501's and 505's. It was the change of dyes in the 70's that seemed to change the denim so much.

It's wasn't $130, it was £130! I agree, a great deal... for me.

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Paul T, I'm surprised you got $130 for those!

I disagree with '66 being a cut off point for good Levis, they were using the same denim and dyes on early 70's single stitch 501's and 505's. It was the change of dyes in the 70's that seemed to change the denim so much.

The denim was ok until the early '70's, I am no expert on the dye techniques, but the interesting details started to disappear from the early sixties (hidden rivets..etc)

Actually, for me personally, the cut off point is when the ' Every garment guaranteed ' statement , and the 'XX' after 501 (in black) disappeared, '63-65..ish.

After that, for me the 501 lost it's soul IMO

.

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Yes Dr, I agree up to a point, I think most peoples favourite jeans are the post war ('47?) 501s with the leather tag, centre belt loop and rivets - they are THE classic jeans! but they still cost big bucks even though prices have levelled out over recent years.

I actually like the more subtle details like mixed stitching that didn't disappear 'til the early 70's - I'd prefer to compromise than wear copies!

501_special.JPG

Early 70's 501s with lemon stitching on the hems.

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btw aho you're in the wrong thread. Vintage = 25+ years old

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Yes Dr, I agree up to a point, I think most peoples favourite jeans are the post war ('47?) 501s with the leather tag, centre belt loop and rivets - they are THE classic jeans! but they still cost big bucks even though prices have levelled out over recent years.

I actually like the more subtle details like mixed stitching that didn't disappear 'til the early 70's - I'd prefer to compromise than wear copies!

501_special.JPG

Early 70's 501s with lemon stitching on the hems.

John

I also like subtle details, and that was always the hook with the older Levis. For me, the post-war model 501 right up up until around the mid-sixties, was where these subtle details were at their most prolific.

Your photo is interesting, as it is a good example of how bland the details have become by this time: The only bit of 'lemon' stitching is on the hems, the waistband is not single-stitched and the bar-tack stitch across the beltloops is shorter. I could go on....

I think they introduced the polycottons then too.

Dont get me wrong, they are a good pair of jeans, but bland by comparison to the pre-66 model IMO.

.Have you ever owned/worn any Lvc? If so, which models?

.

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never been tempted by lvc myself, my ex has a pair of 1947s - if she wears them with an old Levi jacket it really shows them up!

I've got some Lee originals 101zs from 93/94 which aren't bad, but again I couldn' wear them with one of my old Lee jackets.

501s have always been 100% cotton, they may have used polycotton for other models.

T he denim is the most important thing for me, the old cotton and dyes just can't be replicated!

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never been tempted by lvc myself, my ex has a pair of 1947s - if she wears them with an old Levi jacket it really shows them up!

I've got some Lee originals 101zs from 93/94 which aren't bad, but again I couldn' wear them with one of my old Lee jackets.

501s have always been 100% cotton, they may have used polycotton for other models.

T he denim is the most important thing for me, the old cotton and dyes just can't be replicated!

The polycotton thread was what was used to stitch your pair of 70's jeans together, as opposed to the earlier cotton threads (they're the ones that fade). This was phased-in around the mid-sixties. Paul T would know the exact details in all probabability.

The denim on some of the wide ranging models (and variants) within Lvc is stunning (as is some of the other repro brands). If your into proper old cotton and dyes, you should check some of them out !

.

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Oh God, I am not going to get into the argument of new vs reissue denim again... I only get slagged off. But in the spring I will go and see a friend and do some new vs old comparisons and photos on some used and deadstock 50s 501 that he has.

One thing that's worth pointing out is that you can get two LVC made one year apart, and two vintage 501 from one year apart, and each will show incredible variation, especially in the tightness fo the weave, and hence the 'graininess' of the look, and of the cottton, for instance, the hairiness.

I would also repeat ringring's observation that 'hairy' denim, often held up as a mark of superiority, tends to be a mark of short staple cotton. Interesting to see some traces of hairness on one of the marvin's pairs, I wonder if they coincided with the Boll Weevil crisis, when America's Sea Island cotton was pretty much wiped out.

Yes, 70s jeans are polycotton. I am not sure exactly what year it came in, I've been told it varied across a couple of factories.

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Paul

There's no arguement, this is soley about vintage. This is trawling through the real stuff - The Great Gear market in Kings road 1983, Under the arches in Camden, before it burned down, Flip, Tripp, The Kensington market, or Greenwich market, Portabello road, Classics, Interstate... The days of yore. Or is it the days of yawn?

.

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ah.... for me it was mostly a cool old store in Hull Old Town, next to Andrew Marvell's old grammar school. I still reckon I got my first job on publishing when the editor who interviewed me looked at my cuffs, with redline, and I noticed he was wearing the same (how gay is that?).

Now I think about it, I still do remember the excitement of looking through huge bales of jeans, after they'd cut through the bindings, and looking for my size. I remember gettting real nice pairs and being puzzled by the leg twist, I thought it was some factory fault.

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ah.... for me it was mostly a cool old store in Hull Old Town, next to Andrew Marvell's old grammar school. I still reckon I got my first job on publishing when the editor who interviewed me looked at my cuffs, with redline, and I noticed he was wearing the same (how gay is that?).

Now I think about it, I still do remember the excitement of looking through huge bales of jeans, after they'd cut through the bindings, and looking for my size. I remember gettting real nice pairs and being puzzled by the leg twist, I thought it was some factory fault.

Lol ! ( For gay, read geeky. It's just not PC you know..)

Yeah, there was something wild about opening a bale and being first in, or going into Rokit or Rancho Deluxe, just after they had a delivery!

.

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I thought the leg twist was a fault too! Got my first raw selvage pair on a school trip to San Francisco in 1984 and also managed to find another raw pair on the ground floor of Kensington Market around '87.

Did Johnson's on the first floor sell vintage 501s too?

Afflecks Palace in Manchester was another good vintage source in the mid-late 80s.

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I thought the leg twist was a fault too! Got my first raw selvage pair on a school trip to San Francisco in 1984 and also managed to find another raw pair on the ground floor of Kensington Market around '87.

Did Johnson's on the first floor sell vintage 501s too?

Afflecks Palace in Manchester was another good vintage source in the mid-late 80s.

Johnsons was more of a leather goods shop, selling quality retro motorbike jackets, belts and DM/Shelleys' boots. There was also one next to one of the Classics shops in the kings rd. (I think it went: Johnsons, Classics (clothing), Rancho Deluxe, Classics (denim). Also in the kings road, there was The Garage which was huge - there's a photo of it in Paul T's book.

There was nothing like Johnsons at the time, but i dont remember them selling jeans.

Your right, Afflecks Palace was a good place, especially the place in the basement.

There was a wicked place in Brighton, called Uncle Sams'. Their main warehouse was in Evesham, near Cheltenham. You could spend hours going through musty rails of denim, and the Guy who owned it was solid. He always looked out for bits for me. You could spend all day in there!

.

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It's funny how we would overlook/discard 501's because of the leg twist.

I also used to discard them if they a wrinkled up leather (jerky) patch, as it altered the yoke area of the jean.

.

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never been tempted by lvc myself, my ex has a pair of 1947s - if she wears them with an old Levi jacket it really shows them up!

I'd beg to differ. I have a near-deadstock type 3 and the fabric is almost an exact match to my LVC '67 505 (I'm sure the granddaughter thought she was doing the Salvation Army a favor by washing it before she donated it). The fabric is eerily similar.

Given, neither piece has 30 years of wear, so they match. And, I'll agree that no repro will have the patina of 30 years -- if that's what you mean. However, the repro brands are doing a fantastic job of matching the characteristics of old denim and in many cases bringing a whole new bag of tricks to the table. There is no 21-oz. vintage denim or natural indigo -- well, relatively affordable natural indigo. No vintage jeans like the Sugar Cane slack weave. If you love cinch back, you'll never afford a pair of real vintage cinch-back.

Also, I'm loving this thread. Normally I have no pangs about living in a small city, but to hear you cats go on and on about different thrift stores makes me envious.

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I'm loving this thread. Normally I have no pangs about living in a small city, but to hear you cats go on and on about different thrift stores makes me envious.

ditto and i live in a big city. nice thread guys.

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Just remembered the last pair of vintage I owned, 502 0117. Here they are next to my current 47. But they remind me of how hard it was to actually get an old pair that didn't have that bland or washed-out look like forgive me,johnmc's pair. A few years ago I would have been overjoyed to find a pair with some indigo left, but wearing a pair from scratch is the way to go for me.

newold.jpg

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