Ever since the great raw denim boom of the early days, American denim has remained relatively simple: blue, straight legs, and most of all in point. Of course, the exact fit and size of jeans has evolved to some extent, but the big idea was to stay classic. Then Gucci (perhaps treading the floor that Ed Hardy broke a decade before) introduced the idea of embellished embellishments as a luxury adornment. Bode has taken the scene by storm and proved that you can turn forgotten textiles into coveted fashion. Somewhere along the way, these two ideas merged and an aesthetic – unique, hand-sewn, deeply individual garments – emerged.
This week marks the release of a collaborative project between Levi’s and Bentgablenits, a sign that the core aesthetic (and the eco-friendly upcycling mentality that goes with it) is going nowhere.
Levi’s is, obviously, America’s premier denim company. Bentgablenits, meanwhile, are a trio from Toronto that turns recycled vintage clothing into coveted products. They are the unlikely couple of two interior designers – Brenda Bent and Karen Gable – and vintage fashion collector of Angelo Nitsopoulos, a close friend of Bent’s sons. Still, the three proved to be a quiet force, creating a brand known by reworking the dead clothes of Nike and The Elder Statesman. In less than two years, Bentgablenits managed to attract enviable nods from Travis Scott, Bella Hadid and Daniel Arsham. Fellow Canadian Drake also bought one of the brand’s very first drops.
For this collection, Levi’s provided vintage 501 jeans and special-source trucker jackets, and Bentgablenits stepped in to handle the rest. Each piece features delicate floral embroidery done entirely by hand (no sewing machine here), and the process can take up to three hours per garment. Denim garments, dotted with flower buds and leaves, feel as inspired by 1970s hippie jeans (minus the bell bottoms) as it does by the denim program designed by Alessandro Michele half a decade ago. Levi’s x Bentgablenits will be available exclusively on the Levi’s app from April 29.
It’s one thing for a massive, iconic brand like Levi’s to apply intimate embroidered patches to their jeans; it’s totally another for them to get into the concept and team up with a small label like Bentgablenits. The growing desire of consumers to buy more consciously, coupled with the fact that these denim items are quite stylish, suggests that this collaboration is bound to be a success.
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