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Re-engineered 501s give Levi's customers they shape they've always wanted

Levi’s has cottoned on to the way customers customise their straight-leg 501s and is now offering an update on the iconic denim, writes Rebecca Gonsalves

Rebecca Gonsalves
Tuesday 03 March 2015 01:00 GMT
Haim star in the new Live in Levi’s campaign
Haim star in the new Live in Levi’s campaign

If you’ve never seen Levi’s infamous “Launderette” ad from 1985, get thee to YouTube now. Even if you can remember the vignette set in a Fifties-era American launderette in which the singer and model Nick Kamen strips off to his crisp cotton skivvies in order to stonewash his 501s, what’s the harm in a little refresher? That ad was memorable for its content, but it also ushered in a new era for the American denim brand – redefining a reputation and cementing its must-have status among fashion-hungry teens.

Over the past 30 years Levi’s has managed to maintain a strong market position in the face of competition from both high street and designer brands, which have cottoned on to the increasingly lucrative nature of a fashion-led denim market. And while the original straight-leg 501 style is still a tried-and-true favourite, the denim-clad powers that be at the brand’s San Francisco headquarters decided that it was time for a bit of an update.

Enter the 501CT (“customised & tapered”) – a new style which reflects the way customers have been modifying the original shape for years. With designs for men and women, the updated version offers a tapered leg and a slightly more relaxed, lower-waisted fit in vintage washes.

Sadly, there are no plans to recreate Kamen’s star turn, but a limited-edition hand-made collaboration with will boost the brand’s fashion credentials, while a Live in Levi’s campaign supported by musicians will once again cement its status with rock ’n’ roll rebels.

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