Ironically, as the level of lawsuits in copyright infringement cases in youth culture fast-fashion continues to rise as more brands are suing and copying in an all-out war in our graphic-centric period of time, so too has the slow fashion movement gained momentum among various brands as the rise in craftivism takes centerstage.
Levi’s Made to Order project, which just opened in their store in the meatpacking district of Manhattan, allows people to build and create their own pair of Levi’s denim jeans, from the selection of the materials, to the rivets, to threads. The jeans are then created and fitted by trained tailors such as Levi’s on-site Master Tailor Ryan Grant-Hays in the store, measured on your body and made-to-order as you watch the process, ending with a final, one-of-kind stamp of an original number and initials of the tailor discreetly located on the inside of your new, pricey ($300-$450) well-made jeans.
The program is yet another example of the growing movement of slow fashion, often thought of as local, handmade, bespoke apparel, which ironic as it sounds, is actually producing products (often on the leading-edge of trends) that come out faster than the traditional fashion cycle.
In boutique circles of fashion especially, particularly denim, high-end streetwear, and classic footwear, there’s a strong following for the slow-fashion movement which stems from the crossroads of Americana, heritage trends, and changes in perceptions in sustainability, and importance of locally grown and made products. (For more, check-out our subscriber-only story on the Fast-Fashion vs. Slow-Fashion Movements.)
Levi’s new in-store service also provides a reason to view the “store” as an event location or happening rather than simply an ordinary retail space. Similar to Nudie Jeans and their ReUse ReCyle ReDuce campaign whereby people can get their Nudie denim jeans repaired onsite (and buy DIY kits to do it themselves at home), the Levi’s Made to Order project looks at the craft and art of tailoring denim vs. manufacturing, and emphasizing the importance of key apparel pieces that cost more but last longer and contain a personal story, which is finding new importance in a time of economic anxiety.
Check out the video from Complex and interview with Ryan while making a pair of denim on-site and how the process works.