I've been making clothes for a long time. I think it started with tearing up clothes and putting them back together. At acertain point I decided to make myself a pair of jeans, and I felt like I could do it better. So I did another pair and then another. It just kept going on and on like that. You don't see custom jeans being made too often in America. That's sort of a difficult thing to do. It's a very specific thing to do. Every single pair of jeans that I make is different from the last pair of jeans. The fit makes a garment. It doesn't matter what period of time it's from, what fabric it's made out of, what color it is, if it fits on a person, it's going to look great. Do you want a chain stitch hem or a single needle stitch hem?Noah Johnson:
I like the chain stitch.Ryan Grant-Hays:
So the denim I picked, it's a 12 ounce selvedge. It has texture to it, a little more irregular, which I think is really dope.Ryan Grant-Hays:
It's called nep. Noah Johnson: Nep. It's got nep.Ryan Grant-Hays:
So it's neppy denim.Noah Johnson:
I felt like this was sort of the most unique option, and if we're doing custom jeans, why not do something a little more special, and this will look great with this fabric. I'm going to go with this sort of gray shade. I went with the heavier pocket bag just basically for the hand-dyed effect, and plus Ryan made these himself, which I think is pretty cool.Ryan Grant-Hays:
So you went with sort of a vintage motif here.Noah Johnson:
What we've selected are all from Cone Mills White Oak, and they're all pre-shrunk selvedge denims. The idea of making something fit somebody from a sample and then creating it from scratch wouldn't really work with a shrink-to-fit fabric because you're going to wash it and then it's going to change the proportion. And then what was the point of having a custom fitting in the first place? Hand tweaking every single pattern, we're able to get something that fits them very well. I can keep those patterns on file, and then that customer knows that they can walk in the door at any point and they know that they can find a pair of jeans that fits them. Noah chose to have a feld inseam, which is something that he would be the first in line to have that. So the only stitch showing is an Indigo stitch. Approaching a pair of jeans or any garment from a tailor's aspect, you really want the inside to be as beautiful as the outside. What has become one of my favorite processes now is personalizing the jeans. Each pair of made-to-order jeans is editioned, and then it goes with a bag that is custom made and is also editioned. Nowadays most denim is outsourced to large factories mostly overseas, and you've got a bunch of people who all sit in front of a sewing machine and there's one function that they do. It's one stitch all day long. I think what makes this program really special is the fact that making a pair of jeans is approached from a tailoring aspect and not a manufacturing aspect. One of the most fulfilling things for me is starting a pair of jeans and seeing it all the way to the end. There's a sense of completion there, and there's a sense of satisfaction in that. I am formally trained as a tailor. Every little stitch counts. The entire process is intricate. Something is editioned, date on it, that's a piece of Levi's history.
Watch Levi's Master Tailor Ryan Grant-Hays make Levi's jeans from scratch in the store's basement sewing room in New York City's Meatpacking District.