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Levi's 501 inspired jeans- the twist to the old classics

 

It's no secret that Levi's 501 is the real embodiment of classic jeans. You can completely relate to the modern products of the company Levi's, but the very image of the 501 model inspired and continues to be inspiring to many manufacturers to this day. This can be expressed in the features, cut and in other details.

The phenomenon of Japanese denim in many ways started due to the desire of manufacturers wanting to recreate those same jeans. Very much love and attention to the denim classics were superimposed on the Japanese laborious handicraft approach to production and the utmost attention to even the smallest details.

Some companies seek to reproduce the image of classic jeans in the style of 501, trying to get as close as possible to the original. These range from old Japanese brands, (for example the famous "Osaka 5"  Full Count ) to relatively new brands, such as TCB. Here, the manufacturer's desire to replicate the silhouette of Levi's 501 is clearly visible, but we also see them trying to convey the spirit of the old era. This is expressed by painstaking work through the selection of denim, the installation of parts and the addition of accessories to make the new modern bear as much close resemblance as possible to the old historical patterns. 

Today, however, the manufacturers are not only limited to playing old jeans, trying to use both heavy denim with a unique slubby texture, but to also design elements directly related to Japanese history, culture and ancient mythology. (One of the brightest representatives of this direction, of course, is the company Samurai jeans.)

In this article we will introduce the most interesting and recognizable jeans on which the famous Levi's 501 influenced in varying degrees.

Full Count

This company is one of the most famous manufacturers of Japanese denim and was founded in 1992. Full Count is one of the participants in the famous Osaka 5, as already mentioned above.

Speaking of jeans inspired by Levi's old products, Full Count's  is probably the most revealing. These jeans with their intricate details maximizes and embodies the spirit of old American jeans.

Despite the 2007 lawsuit filed by Levi Strauss & Co., which prohibits the use of parts that have a very clear resemblance to their products, Full Count still uses very noticeable arches on the back pockets that, if desired, can be made indistinguishable from those of Levi's.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeans are stitched with classic threads of red and lemon colors, have a V-shaped line on the belt and are buttoned in the style of the old Levi's

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As for the styles, in one way or another they have very recognizable references to the Levi's classic.

 

 

FULL COUNT
0105XX 1953 MODEL TAPERED 15.5OZ

FULL COUNT
0105XX 1953 MODEL TAPERED 15.5OZ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the name suggests, these jeans are inspired by the denim classics of the 50s. The time of rock'n'roll, motorcycles and images of the rebels, embodied on the movie screens by James Dean and Marlon Brando. These are jeans with a large upper block structure and a slightly tapering knee-leg. The model looks great when cuffed and paired with heavy boots.

 

FULL COUNT
1108XX MIDDLE STRAIGHT 15.5OZ

FULL COUNT 1108XX MIDDLE STRAIGHT 15.5OZ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FULL COUNT
1108 MIDDLE STRAIGHT 13.7OZ

FULL COUNT
1108 MIDDLE STRAIGHT 13.7OZ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Models 1108 and 1108XX (differ only in denim density) are the flagship of the Full Count and are fashioned by Levi's 501 60's. It was a time when denim became more associated with fashion and style, rather than a purely utilitarian work clothing. The cut of jeans had become narrower. The jeans model from FC is not 100% Levi's replica of that period (using a leather patch, hidden rivets, which Levi's have not used in the 60's). 

 

Samurai Jeans

If to compare with the classic Japanese repro, then Samurai refers to a new generation of Japanese denim manufacturers. First of all, this is expressed in the very approach of production. Leaving enough recognizable details and some styles, Samurai strive for greater identity of their products.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In their jeans, as if merging together the details inherent in both American and Japanese culture, clashes of design and quirkiness is seen everywhere. In addition, a heavy tight denim with a heterogeneous expressive texture, which no one could even imagine in the middle of the twentieth century - this, is the visiting card of Samurai.

 

SAMURAI JEANS
S3000VX 17OZ SELVEDGE DENIM

SAMURAI JEANS
S3000VX 17OZ SELVEDGE DENIM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the heart of this model of jeans lies Levi's 501 from the 40s. Here we apparently have a fairly wide straight cut and a high fit on the belt, like the old working jeans and the details that were used during the Second World War. The arches on the back pockets here are painted, as Levi's did at that time. On the coin pocket (intentionally), there are no slow rivets. At the same time, these jeans are made of a very dense 17OZ Zero denim, which is already the property of modern Japanese masters. On the belt there is a leather patch with fencers, and in the selvedge are woven red and silvery threads, symbolizing the samurai's blade, and the burlap of the front pockets is made of a dense jacquard of red color.

 

SAMURAI JEANS
S0500XX 15OZ OTOKOGI STRAIGHT

SAMURAI JEANS
S0500XX 15OZ OTOKOGI STRAIGHT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are looking for jeans that are similar in style to the modern Levi's 501, then the S0500XX from Samurai Jeans will be a very good and interesting choice.

Here are all recognizable "Levi’s" elements: arches embroidered with yellow thread, leather patch and red tab, added with the inscription in large silver letters SAMURAI. However, the main nuance of these jeans is of course the remarkable Otokogi denim. O has an average density of 15OZ and a very interesting texture with vertical "strips". The denim here will quickly acquire a beautiful fade.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SAMURAI JEANS
S510XX 21OZ STRAIGHT SELVAGE DENIM

SAMURAI JEANS
S510XX 21OZ STRAIGHT SELVAGE DENIM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the most popular models of Samurai Jeans. Perhaps Levi's 50's also made an impression here. Jeans have a high fit on the belt, a fairly wide upper block and a completely straight leg.

FOB Factory

A small company from Okayama, FOB Factory is not as widely known as the ones named earlier. However, in their collection, there are quite a few interesting jeans with explicit references to the historical heritage of Levi's.

FOB FACTORY
F191 SELVEDGE 5P MIDDLE STRAIGHT WWII MODEL

FOB FACTORY
F191 SELVEDGE 5P MIDDLE STRAIGHT WWII MODEL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is my own view of jeans with details relating to the period of the Second World War. It uses a straight cut with a high fit, imitating the style of jeans of the 40s. It should be noted the use of Supima cotton to give denim maximum comfort and softness. Cotton with extra-long fiber, a thread that has not been twisted is spinning- such threads in turn are weaved with a durable but very soft denim. We cannot say that this is a tribute to the historical tradition (after all, Supima is quite an expensive raw material), here the manufacturer just wanted to try to make such jeans as comfortable as possible. As for the details, they are directly inspired by the jeans of the 40s.

At the moment, FOB FACTORY no longer uses arches that would clearly resemble the Levi's arches. in this case the pocket is made generally without arches, but the red tab, certainly hints at the source of inspiration for this model of jeans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The burlap of the pocket is made of flannel, that is why Levi's during the Second World War was trying to save it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buttons with a picture of a laurel wreath are made in the form of a donuts button. On the coin pocket deliberately there are no rivets.

 

 

TCB Jeans

This is a very young company existing in Okayama, the heart of the Japanese denim industry. Despite being a relatively new manufacturer, TCB Jeans is very serious player and carefully approaches the reproduction of jeans and work clothes in accordance with historical patterns. The founder of the brand Hajime Inoue is involved, both in the development and directly in the production of their jeans. The production process is immediately preceded by a thorough examination of archival samples of old jeans. TCB tries to reproduce as close as possible even the color and texture of denim in accordance with a particular period of time.

 

 

TCB 20'S

TCB JEANS
TCBJEANS20S TCB20'S

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rarely you find who nowadays produces jeans based on Levi's 20's, but TCB did it :) These jeans have a very loose cut with a high belt-fit. On the back of the jeans there is a cinch-back for adjusting the size, on the belt are visible special buttons for suspenders, on the back pockets are visible copper rivets, pierced through (in the 20s there were no hidden rivets yet).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TCB JEANS
50'S

 

 

TCB JEANS
50'S

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are the flagship and most popular model for TCB. As the name implies, Levi's 501 of the 50's is at the core here. Jeans with a straight and relatively wide cut. Denim, made from long-fiber Zimbabwe cotton has a soft texture, on which a distinctive "velvety" is clearly visible.

TCB does not use embroidered arches, but there is also a noticeable red tab on the back pockets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instead of horses, the patch depicts cats, the beloved animals of the brand's creator, Hajime Inoue. At the same time, the entire style of the patch very much resembles Levi's.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TCB JEANS
60'S

 

TCB JEANS 60'S

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeans of the 60's in their historical period differed significantly from the jeans of the 50's. This is very well noticeable in the example of TCB 60's. First of all, it concerns the denim itself. Here, a smoother denim with a lighter shade of indigo is used. TCB used American cotton from San Joaquin plantations.

The patch of these jeans is already made not out of leather, but out of pressed paper, instead of hidden rivets, while special reinforcements of 42 stitches are used on the back pockets

 

TCB PRE-SHRUNK JEANS (TYPE 505)

TCB JEANS
TCB TCBPRESHJEANS505 TCB PRE-SHRUNK JEANS (TYPE 505)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These jeans are also a legacy of the 60s. TCB made this model on the base of Levi's 505, or as it was at that time, called "501 on a zipper". Jeans are produced only in the already seated form, as it was in historical reality. Denim woven from American cotton has a fairly even texture.

It uses ancient brass lightning produced by Talon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A patch made of pressed paper is sewn on the jeans, the button on the belt crafted out of dark-colored metal.

 

Sugar Cane

This story would be incomplete, if you do not mention Sugar Cane. Being one of the brands of a large and well-known Japanese company Toyo inc., The Sugar Cane jeans are widely known both in Japan and abroad. Many denimheads around the world started their interest in Japanese denim with the very first purchase of Sugar Cane. This brand is trying to produce jeans that are close to the historic Levi's, and in short, it's coming VERY close.

 

SUGAR CANE 1947 MODEL

SUGAR CANE
SC41947 14.25OZ STANDARD DENIM 1947 MODEL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the core here is the classic Levi's 501 of the late 40s. This period was marked by the fact that Levi's stopped saving on the details, began to use a different type of buttons and returned the embroidered arches to the back pockets.

For the model directly from Sugar Cane, here we see a fairly authentic cut with a wide upper block and a very slightly tapered leg. Sugar Cane uses its traditional leather patch with the image of a locomotive. The buttons on which these jeans are fastened completely mimic the vintage Levi's. At the moment, embroidered arches and red tab by Sugar Cane are not used. Nevertheless, this is a detail that is close enough to historical jeans.

 

SUGAR CANE 1966 MODEL

SUGAR CANE
SC42966 14OZ DENIM 1966 MODEL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As it was written above, the 60s jeans were already made with significant technological simplifications. This was due to the economy and the fact that jeans have become more of an everyday, rather than working clothes. Consequently, the requirements that were presented to the details of the working overalls are gone.

As already shown in the example of TCB 60's, the Sugar Cane jeans are made of pressed moisture resistant paper, not leather. Hidden rivets on the back pockets are also replaced with 42 stitches of thread in the upper corners of the pockets.

 

Conclusion

Thus, we have well pored over several variants of jeans from various Japanese manufacturers in which the influence of the ancient Levi's 501 of different eras is clearly traced. Some manufacturers try to stick to historical reliability as closely as possible, taking into account not only some details, but also the style and even the texture of the material. They rely only on certain stochastic details and features of the silhouette of jeans, producing more modern jeans. All such things have a peculiar and unique charm and they are all very different with their soul and charisma. Usually only a few people stop at only one of these models manufacturers of jeans. As denimheads, we always will want to try different, denim, different kinds of fades and details of such jeans. In this case, the choice is only yours, dear readers!

 

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