People have been customizing their Levi’s® 501® jeans since day one – from the California mines to Woodstock to Coachella.
In honor of this year’s Levi’s® 501® Day – held every May 20th to mark the anniversary of the patent date – and its ubiquity with customization, the Levi’s® brand is teaming up with influential stylist Karla Welch. A creative visionary and founder of xkarla, she is putting her own creative spin on the iconic 501® and a number of Levi’s® classics.
“It’s all very customization focused,” Karla says of the collaboration, which she hopes will inspire others to dream up creative new ways to customize their Levi’s®. “They’re original designs based on the parameters of utilizing a 501® or an existing Levi’s® pattern.”
The collection will include two new versions of the 501® – a wide-leg flare version and an original version with a shiny red patent leather back pocket – a reversible Sherpa jacket, a boiler suit, a pleated jean, a red pocket Western shirt, an oversized cropped Trucker and a leather fringe Trucker. Most of the pieces come in dark indigo denim – a nod to the idea that these pieces represent the future, rather than the present, of vintage clothing.
Of course, there’s plenty of classic vintage influence as well. The Levi’s® x karla Fringe Trucker, for instance, was inspired by Karla’s own childhood love of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. And then there are the 1970s-esque Levi’s® x karla Wide Leg 501® Jeans and Levi’s® x karla Pleated Jeans, both of which take cues from vintage pieces Karla found while exploring the Levi Strauss & Co. Archives.
“Her spin on our most iconic pieces brilliantly combines the past and the energy of the future,” says Karyn Hillman, Chief Product and Merchandising Officer Global Brands. “She really played with the proportions and the details, both the familiar and the unexpected – they are fresh yet simple and effortless. And hopefully, in the process, we will have created some future vintage pieces.”
The Levi’s® x karla 501® Collection not only honors our iconic jean, it will also have a charitable component in line with the values Levi Strauss & Co. embodies. In honor of this collaboration, Levi’s® is making a donation to support the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund. Everytown is a U.S. nonprofit organization that advocates for gun control and against gun violence.
Identified as one of the most powerful stylists by The Hollywood Reporter, Karla has worked with the Levi’s® brand for years out of our Haus of Strauss celebrity showroom in Los Angeles. She was also one of 50 global influencers chosen to celebrate the Trucker jacket’s 50th anniversary last year by designing her own jacket. She worked with our design team to put her personal spin on the Trucker, creating a duster inspired by her trench-coated post-punk high school days.
Through this latest collaboration, it’s all about showcasing the incredible bandwidth of something as enduring as the Levi’s® 501®. “Good design always lasts,” Karla said. “I think it’s probably the most iconic piece of clothing there is. And it will withstand the test of time.”
The Levi’s® x karla 501® Day Collection will be available on 501® Day – May 20th – in select Levi’s® stores globally, Levi.com (U.S. only), xkarla.com and select Dover Street Market locations.