Skateboarding is no longer reserved for snotty teenagers and hardcore pros; the sport, and especially the culture surrounding it, has been embraced by family fathers and fashionistas as well, and the commercial potential of the market has not gone unnoticed by the big brands. As a direct response to the growing popularity of the culture, Levi’s introduced their Streetwear line for the fall of 2011. At first it was only available in Europe, but from this fall the collection has become global. The concept is strongly influenced by the Northern Californian skate and surf culture, and each piece is designed for maximum mobility, comfort and durability.
Before the global launch of the Streetwear collection, on the 4th of July earlier this year, Levi’s and Nike SB released the 511 Skateboarding collab capsule collection of apparel and shoes with Nike team rider and Levi’s fanatic Omar Salazar as the spokesman. The project marked a deeper focus on the skate scene for the American mother of jeans with the introduction of a super-limited line of premium jeans. Global engagement marketing manager, Joshua Katz, sums it up: “Levi’s has always been a favorite for many skaters, but hadn’t really targeted the retail side.”
Even though Levi’s has only recently begun designing jeans specifically for skaters, the brand has been part of the scene in one way or another for decades. It started in the days of “sidewalk surfing” in the 60s when people wore White Levi’s and in the late 70s it had to be Orange Tab Levi’s. In the early 00s, Levi’s were leading the change to slimmer jeans with the 511. “If anyone is going to design better jeans for skateboarding, it should be Levi’s,” says Katz. “We know just how unique the skate retail world is—a lot of us have been involved in it in one way or another.” Designing jeans specifically for skateboarding two of the most important things Levi’s did was assembling a dedicated rep force and making sure that the products we built for skateboarders.
Returning to the Levi’s Streetwear FW12 collection, let’s have a closer look at the products.
The Levi’s Streetwear 111 (Skinny) and 222 (Slim) jeans are made of a light-weight stretch fabric and are reinforced with bartacks, triple-layered belt loops and chain stitching finishing at the hems. They are available in three colourways; a flat wash rigid denim, a worn-in black, and a faded grey. The jeans feature the iconic black tab and a black Two Horse Patch, black rubber-coated hems and heritage inspired buttons and rivets in a black matte finish among other functional design details.
The tops collection focuses on long sleeved shirts and tees.
To mark the introduction of the fall 2012 Streetwear collection, Levi’s is launching a new “Locals Only” short film; part of the series of lifestyles documentaries and related photography with skateboarding as a focal point. Earlier films including the one about our local heroes, Wrenchmonkees. This time, Levi’s focused on the first annual Builder’s Jam, a DIY skatepark project, which took place in Hannover, Germany earlier this year where an empty plot of land was transformed into an amazing DIY skatepark. Five crews from Germany and the UK were joined by Lennie Burmeister, who featured in the previous Berlin Locals Only documentary, Alex Irvine of Kingpin Magazine and Daniel May, the driving force behind the Builders’ Jam. The Levi’s team spent a week with the crews which resulted in this little thing:
The Streetwear collection is only available in selected skateboard shops across Europe including Slam City Skates in London, Lockwood in Antwerp, FTC in Barcelona, Streetmachine in Copenhagen, and Railslide in Frankfurt.