Earlier this year, Levi’s released a three-part documentary series titled The 501® Jean: Stories of an Original that focused on the iconic denim’s place in American culture and history. The series started with the birth of the 501 Jean, which was mainly worn by workers who needed a durable garment that could withstand the rigors of tough manual labor. The other topics spanned denim’s transition from function to fashion, its rise to sought-after symbol of style, and how it became a calling card for rebellious subcultures. Now, Levi’s has released a fourth episode with a focus on the jean’s influence in Japanese fashion and culture.
The latest video features interviews with a number of well-known names within the streetwear and fashion worlds of Japan. A Bathing Ape founder Nigo shows off the first pair of 501s he ever purchased and discusses his love and appreciation for Levi’s denim. “I don’t need anything as long as a I have a pair of jeans and T-shirt,” he says with a smile. Other fashionable folk that make an appearance within the episode include Erik Brunetti of FUCT and Shinsuke Takizawa of Neighborhood.
"There was no access to these products at that time. The only way was for us to go get them ourselves," recalled the President of BEAMS, Yo Shitara. The jean fanatic shares a story of how he traveled to America with a huge bag and cash so he could purchase as much Levi's denim as he could get his hands on and return to Japan to sell it.
Watch the episode above, and head over Levi's YouTube to view the documentary in its entirety.