Style: Zip code
Saturday 18 October 1997
Punters are starting to become disillusioned with brands such as Evisu and peddlers of vintage denim who can both charge up to pounds 300 for jeans which have exactly the same selling points: dark denim and a selvage seam. Lee first began selling their 101z jeans in 1926, and they have not changed the design since then. The selvage was lost, but was reinstated last month. Lee 101zs were the subject of a heated conversation overheard on the bus last week. It went something like this: "I never, ever, wash my Lee's," said one. "I've just washed mine twice to get the grainy look, but that's it now. I might dry clean them though," said the other.
Lee jeans have managed to play second fiddle to Levi's since the latter's media-hyped resurrection in the 1980s. It wasn't always that way. Lee, "The Jeans that Built America", really did what they claim. Their denim overalls, dungarees, "carpenter pants" and the101z jeans were the only choice for the men who built the roads, railways and skyscrapers.
The company was set up in 1889 by a Mr HD Lee in Salina, Kansas. In the early days, it was the top American denim brand, producing the first national advertising campaign in 1917, the first jeans with a revolutionary hookless and buttonless fastener (later known as a zipper), in 1926, and the first "Western jeans" jacket in 1931. Others were quick to follow, and indeed followed so well that today, HD Lee's innovations are little known. In 1926, however, a zip-fly jean was regarded by many as a miracle of modern technology, and the slim-fit jacket, which was designed to be worn under an overcoat with slanted pockets for ease of access, and slanted cuffs to prevent rain getting in was the precursor to the layered look which overtook Fifties America.
These pictures were found in the basement of an old Lee factory earlier this year in Kansas. Most of them had been dumped by workers when they moved to new premises. The collection of images, which is now being stored more carefully will be used to put together a Lee jeans museum, and will also feature in a book about the company which is due for release next year.
Lee 101zs cost from pounds 49.99 and are available from selected stores nationwide. For further info, call: 01247 800 200
Life & Style blogs
Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
KickAssTorrents down: biggest file-sharing site moves to .cr domain after takedowns
Audrey Hepburn is officially Britain’s style icon – 22 years after her death
Is PMS real? The tale of the premenstrual monster and its meaning
The confessions of men who ordered mail-order brides
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
- 1 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 2 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 3 The confessions of men who ordered mail-order brides
- 4 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
- 5 Yazidi sex slaves undergoing surgery to 'restore virginity' after being raped by Isis militants
£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...
£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Small Family Accountancy Practi...
£18000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is recruiting for ...
£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This B2B software supplier, spe...