The sequence of events leading up to our dream-come-true project goes like this: Last July, Jane and I traveled to San Francisco to meet Levi’s top creatives, where we heard all about the company’s process of re-vamping its women’s line under the vision of Karyn Hillman, their chief product officer, and toured Levi’s amazing design center, the Eureka Innovation Lab. Then, in October – we saw the new concepts in person, and WERE ASKED TO EACH CHOOSE OUR FAVORITE STYLE AND CREATE SPECIAL JEAN STORIES PAIRS!!! (All caps on purpose there!) Cut to March 2015, and we were back at the lab and given raw-denim pairs in two silhouettes from Levi’s new Lot 700 series – Jane got the new 721 high-rise skinny; I picked the 711 mid-rise skinny – to make all our own. Introducing, Levi’s x Jean Stories!
I brought with me the idea that I wanted a darker pair of jeans with just a little wear (no rips or holes) and the hem let out. An everyday jean. Jane brought with her a pair of Levi’s 517s she’d had for years. The 517 is a boot-cut with a longer rise, not a skinny, it should be noted. But it was the sentiment, color, and the rip-and-repair details she was after for her new 721s.
With help Karyn and Bart Sights (formally, he’s the director of global development for Levi’s; casually, he’s known as a denim genius), we talked about how we wanted our jeans to look, from fade to fray. Then the Lab’s team got to work on transforming our raw pairs into Jean Stories exclusives. (The Lab has everything needed – sewing room, color laboratory, indigo vats, lasers machines, distressing stations, you name it – to turn out a pair of jeans from start to finish, save for creating the fabric itself.) These two styles would be the blueprints for the 100 special-edition Levi’s x Jean Stories capsule. Fifty Florences and 50 Janes were made at the Lab, their finishings done by hand, and you can buy them now!
The next day, Jane put her 721s on and they were exactly what she had in mind – faded, fitted, and with elements of her old 517s on the back left pocket and right side seam. I couldn’t try mine on, since I was pregnant and these are not maternity jeans. But I knew post-baby, my 711s would be perfect – and they are. All day, every day, Jane and I talk about jeans, but this was our first time actually creating some. To do it with Levi’s was incredible. We hope you dig these pairs we made as much as we do, and that over time you’ll wear, love, and put your own marks and memories on them, too.