Jul 20, 2017 | By Samuel Trotman
Get more Denim insights as a WGSN subscriber
Jul 25, 2016
It’s safe to say that the history of Levi’s goes hand in hand with counterculture. While the 501 may have its roots in bad boy rebel cool, it’s Levi’s 505 jean that has the best punk pedigree around.
With its retail birth in 1967, the 505 came of age during an era of cultural explosion throughout America, coinciding with the Summer of Love and reaching its peak popularity with the ’70s punk scene. The jean became synonymous with the trailblazers and musicians who came to define the decade, and still create waves now. They most famously starred on the front cover of the Rolling Stone’s Stick Fingers album, were the uniform for upcoming stars like Debbie Harry, while The Ramones wore them, tore them and thrashed them. They were the first zip fly and the original ripped jean.
It is this rich, countercultural heritage that Levi’s is rolling out the 505™C for Fall 2016 — on the cusp of the 50th anniversary of the original. The rollout comes at a time when people are craving authenticity from their brands and products. This, combined with the fact that consumer love for all things vintage is at an all-time high, makes this a key launch for the denim specialist brand.
Much like the Levi’s 501 CT (Custom Taper), the 505™C, comes “customised” too, with Levi’s® designers retooling and remastered the vintage fit with a customised straight leg that is the perfect slim fit for today.
To celebrate the launch, Levi’s kicked off the proceedings with a performance by rock legend Debbie Harry at New York’s Bowery Ballroom last week. While the music legend and Levi’s icon may be in her seventh decade, it didn’t stop her from continuing to make bold fashion statements, donning a double denim outfit and wowing the crowd with some of her greatest hits. Halfway through the performance, Harry invited designer Todd Thomas onstage to cut her pair into shorts with some giant scissors, a perfect demonstration of the jean’s versatility.
Throughout the venue were a number of memorabilia like original jeans and photographs of Debbie Harry’s most famous moment in her 505’s, a now-iconic image by photographer Richard Young from a 1978 performance in Tokyo (above). Levi’s used the photo – along with a shot by punk photographer Roberta Bayley of the Ramones all wearing the jeans — as inspiration, scouring their archives and vintage sources worldwide to find original 505s from the era.
Shop the new Levi’s® 505™C now at levi.com ($98-$148)
Like what you just read? Follow Samuel on Instagram for the latest indigo inspiration and denim news.
DENIM HEAD? Our team of experts are at every trade show, determine tomorrow’s trends and know which looks are going to have a huge impact on your business. Sound good? Join WGSN.
Know what’s next. Become a WGSN member today to benefit from our daily trend intelligence, retail analytics, consumer insights and bespoke consultancy services.