Oi Polloi

The Antiques Clothes Show: Seb's Levi's

Published: Thu Mar 14 2013

The Antiques Clothes Show is a new series we’re doing where we dig out our favourite clothes and spin a bit of a yarn about them. This time we’ve got OP’s online mastermind and emergency dog walker, Seb with his trusty Levi’s jeans. Take it away Seb…

In December 2010, I treated myself to an early Christmas present, a fresh pair of rigid Levi’s Vintage Clothing 1967 505 jeans. At the time I didn’t realise, but these have turned out to be probably the best pair of jeans I’ve ever bought.

I think when you buy raw denim, you can never be exactly sure if they’re completely right for you until you wear enough that they bed in. I’ve had love affairs with jeans from Nudie, Edwin and APC, but with the 1967 505 I finally found the fit and jeans for me, and I’ve stuck with this model and never looked back. I have 3 pairs of these now. I even have a ritual with new jeans because of them, which either results in a load of stick off my mates or at the very least a vacant or bemused stare. Anyway, the first thing I do is stick them on and jump in the shower with ‘em. Then stick on a crappy old J Dilla tee and take the dog for a walk for half an hour.

Why? I hate the look of new dry denim; I think it looks a little awkward. By taking a walk in them whilst wet, I’d say it cuts out that first months wear. It beds in the creases behind the knee and lets the ‘stack’ settle. But… if you’re thinking of doing this, be prepared to have blue legs once you take them off.

I hate it when people say literally when it’s not literal. Like ‘it’s literally pissing it down outside’ — that’d be hanging. But, I can say I literally wore these jeans EVERY day for about four months. Once nicer weather hit I occasionally stuck on some chinos or shorts, but they never felt as good as my Levi’s. After that I reckon there would have been a handful of days every month that I didn’t wear them.

I left Oi Polloi in August 2011 because I was leaving England and moving to Vancouver, Canada. I only had one suitcase and of course these were the only jeans I took. After a few months of glorious sun (Yes, they actually have defined seasons in Canada) the weather started cooling and in October I decided to have a crack at something called the Grouse Grind in North Vancouver.

The Grouse Grind (aka Mother Nature’s Stairmaster) is a hiking trail up Grouse Mountain. It is a steep trail that climbs 2,610 ft from the start point at the bottom of the trail to the “Grind Timer” at the top of the trail, it’s only 2.9 km or 1.8 miles — that’s a steep incline. People generally time themselves on the trail, if I remember correctly I hit the average time of about an hour and a half. I was put to shame by people double my age, who told me – once I reached the top – it was their daily workout.

Anyway enough of the geography lesson. The whole point of me chatting on about this is I hadn’t packed any decent outdoors gear for something like this. I thought living in Canada would just be about me watching hockey in sports bars, drinking root beer and eating poutine (Look it up if you haven’t heard of it, a Canadian dish which is essentially chips, cheese and gravy). So, looking like a right tool, I did the Grouse Grind in my trusty pair of Levi’s 1967 505 jeans as well as an Our Legacy Fair Isle Knit, a K-Way and some Nike Air Pegasus ’92s. You’d have thought I’d at least have borrowed/bought/stolen some decent footwear.

Bonus pictures of real Canadian lumberjacks and Grizzlies

After living in Canada for four months I decided I’d had enough and went to San Francisco, then New York, then back up into Canada to Toronto. My Levi’s came with me to Niagara Falls then we headed over to Seattle, before coming back to Manchester via a very boozy stop off to see some friends in London.

I still wear my Levi’s fairly regularly and they’re still my favourite pair of jeans. I think I’ve washed them about four times now, had them patched up twice by the denim doctor, and recently had them tapered and took up a little. They are almost unrecognizable from their original raw state and I’ll genuinely be pretty sad when the time comes to retire them.