Thursday, 29 November 2018

The Year Dot For Denim Jackets: Levi's Vintage Clothing 1880 Triple Pleat Blouse

LVC may be moving in a more contemporary direction with their recent collections, but this does not mean the label are forsaking their vintage roots.

The reintroduction of the 1880 Denim Blouse, the first denim jacket Levi's ever made, proves this.

This jacket is perfect as a mid layer

First released a few years ago, LVC also made canvas duck and indigo gingham versions for their 2012 Miners range. Great jackets, but it's good to see a raw denim type back in the fold.

The unearthed example in the LVC archive, upon which all reproductions are based, was exactly that - dug out from a Nevada mine.

The fit is not as boxy as the later 507 jacket, but still cut short to rest on the hips - accurate for the era, given that workmen would have all worn very high waisted trousers. If you want to tweak the fit further there's the cinch on the back.

Fabricated from loom state Cone Mills 10oz denim, this light weight reflects how the originals would have been worn - as mid layer blouse, probably with a heavier duck jacket over the top. 
Unusually the weft has been woven vertically. LVC are not quite sure why this was done historically, but think it was to help shrinkage occur only on the width.

The stand out detail for me is the triple pleating on the front. Aesthetically it looks fantastic, but again it's something that shows the jacket's DNA as a utility garment - the pleats allowed more freedom of movement for manual workers. Further reflecting this simplicity are the two copper riveted open patch pockets. 

LVC have had a bit more time to spend on this reissue and have tweaked the stitching slightly, but other than that the jacket is as close as they could get to the original.

Every now and again you see an item that turns your head - exactly what happened to me when I clapped eyes on the 1880 Blouse at Bread & Butter in 2014. If I could pick one denim jacket to have above all others it would be this one. For me that's the mark of an excellent repro.

Simply put, it's the best jacket in the LVC collection.

With the sad demise of Cone Mills quite what the future holds for the label is uncertain. Watch this space...

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