The 501XX: A Collection of Vintage Jeans

On Friday evening the denim team attended a particularly special night in Tokyo – the launch party of the incredible The 501XX book, just released by the manager of the infamous Berberjin store, Yutaka Fujihara. Fujihara has diligently documented 51 of the worlds most impressive examples of this renowned Levi’s jean, working with the worlds most devout collectors including Naru Kawamoto, Nao Koshiba, Takashi Sanai, Naoto Baba, Yawara Miura and Shigeki Wakiya as well as Levi’s itself, who also provided their collections for this project.

The book launch was fully supported by Levi’s and held in their Shinjuku store in Tokyo; it couldn’t have come at a better time, with the brand new, re-worked 501CT launched just a couple of weeks ago. The party was attended by some of Japan’s most devoted collectors, all wearing their rarest Levi’s denim. One attendee even donned his original Bing-Crosby tuxedo jacket for the occasion (yes, the original, these guys are serious!) Ace photographer, KABO was around to capture the event:

Two of the jeans on display included the 1890’s 501 (no 01 in the book) and a fantastic deadstock 1922 501XX jean, complete with labels and documents.

The wonderful Yosuke Otsubo from Levi’s Japan, pictured here with Yutaka Fujihara, owner of the 1922 deadstock 501XX.

The denim crowd was out in full force.

The book is beautifully presented, with full length front and back shots, incredible detail photos of rivets, back buckles and pockets as it takes you thoroughly through the details and features as well as the evolution and changes that made up these early denim jeans. Yutaka-San has used these rare finds to bring to life the gradual design development of what we now know as the worlds most famous jean from variations is pocket linings, to red tab variations to waistband constructions, everything is carefully documented within the pages.

The book has been released into stores such as Tsutaya books in Daikanyama and various other major stores in Japan, hopefully the release will travel outside of Japan in the near future. There was also a limited edition copy, of only 501 books wrapped in denim, which just sold out yesterday.

We were lucky enough to get our hands on a copy of the book at the launch (thank you Yosuke!) and we have included some shots we took of the book here:

It’s a beautiful book and a great learning tool of the 501XX; it’s so lovely to see some of the best examples the world has to offer to learn first-hand about this amazing piece of denim history! 


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