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Levi’s Big ‘V’ Jackets: Putting the Value in Vintage

Levi's Big 'V' Jackets: Putting the Value in Vintage

A few weeks back, our newest member of the Rope Dye team posted an article about how to spot vintage Levi’s denim jackets. This led to few comments and questions, and especially William (Bill) Holt’s 884-word contribution inspired us. That’s why we asked Bill to give us his opinion on the matter, and here it is.

‘Value’ is a subjective term, as it’s primarily determined by public perception and the demand which that perception generates. I’m no expert, but I confidently believe that this element of ‘perceived value’ explains — at least in part — why modern LVC reproductions can be front-loaded into the marketplace at absurdly inflated prices: essentially, people who have more money than they do common sense are either desperately living on the cusp of fashion or they’re banking on already expensive LVC garments to escalate in worth over the long term – to basically mature as investments.

This is why I have a resistance to new ‘vintage’ articles from Levi Strauss, even though I have to say that they’re temptingly cool-looking.

I would never pay more for a Levi’s Vintage Collection reproduction than I would for a true period piece of Levi’s clothing. A jacket that was made in 1967 has a life story behind it, even if the tale might never be fully known. That mystery alone is priceless. A $350 jacket made to replicate one that was actually crafted over four decades ago will eventually be accompanied by its own life story. However, that story will have to include the uncomfortable truth that the jacket was the progeny of a romance with genuine vintage apparel that became prostituted for mere monetary gain. LVC reproductions are the bastard children of perceived value. They just happen to be lovely little bastards.

In my admittedly not-so-humble opinion, an iconic decades-old Levi’s Big ‘E’ jacket that garners a price of $300 is immeasurably more valuable than a recent LVC remake which might command a price of $350. Why? Because it modestly became a coveted, classic piece of art through natural exposure — or perhaps more fittingly, through its lack of exposure — over time. It’s presence didn’t result from the type of presumably calculated, crass intent which birthed the Levi’s Vintage Collection.

Honestly, I harbor no ill will against LVC products. They ARE ‘real’ Levi’s, but age alone will lend them a purist appeal similar to that which a 1960’s ‘E’ jacket boasts today. For me, they simply need to earn their vintage value. Attaining that distinction requires the patient investment of time rather than the ready exchange of a few hundred bucks. A genuinely vintage item is one which has paid its dues in a measure of years to earn its real character.

Then again, what do I know? I wasn’t made until 1964.

Words: William Holt.

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