Tuesday, August 17, 2010

HIT: Levi's Made & Crafted

Levi's jeans are everywhere at the moment. Walk into Urban Outfitters, and they've got piles of Levi's in every flavor imaginable at a price point somewhere in the neighborhood of $50-$60 or so. Cross the street to J.Crew, and there they are again. Only now, instead of the skinny 511s in more colors than a bag of Skittles, you're looking at the eminent 501s in premium denim retailing between $100 and $150. Down at Brooks Brothers you'll find a similar line. Finally, go online to Unionmade and drool over their stuff from the Levi's Vintage collection. Price point? $230-$450. (**More news - ACL announced today that Levi's has partnered with Filson.)

None of this is as bewildering as it sounds, I guess. Levi's is huge and different divisions are designed to appeal to different customers. I get that. What I'm confused by is the absence of their Capital E line for men. I can't find it anywhere and my local Barney's Co-Op lady says the line is dead. Maybe I was the only one who liked it.

I buy a new pair of jeans every other year or so, and it's getting to be about time. So, today, I checked out their new Made & Crafted line. (The Reference Council did a piece on them a while back.) I thought for sure this would replace the Capital E line. And it does - kinda.

I tried on a pair in their "standard" fit - great look and the quality of the denim, I tried the "rigid," seemed fine.

But what I still love about my old Capital Es is that they were purportedly hand-made in the USA, so they have all these cool artisanal details. (Who knows where they're really made - I'm a sucker for a good story.) The Made & Crafted, on the other hand, were made by machines in Turkey and they look it. Kind of a bummer. The price point is somewhere in the neighborhood of $150, which isn't too bad for premium denim.

In the end, I guess this is a HIT with an asterisk. When I get new jeans, I'll probably end up with a pair of these. But only because they killed the better line.

Here are a few shots. Apologies for the crappy quality.

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