Levi's Vintage Clothing Store in Japan; photo by Will Robb
20 Sep. 2010
LEVI'S VINTAGE CLOTHING OPENS STORE IN TOKYOHeaded by Italian Maurizio Donadi, the Levi’s XX division, set up in 2009 and based in Amsterdam, has just opened its first Japanese store in Tokyo’s affluent Aoyama neighborhood. It’s not your run-of-the-mill denim store, however, as it houses Levi’s premium jeans line Levi’s Vintage Clothing which was initially established in 1999. With only three other stores in the world – Paris, London and Milan, the latest space in Tokyo is the realization of the XX team’s vision to have a real Japanese home for serious denim lovers.
Levi’s Vintage Clothing is unique in the marketplace as it painstakingly recreates vintage Levi’s from its extensive archives. Donadi, who was in Tokyo for the opening, says that there is nothing ordinary about the clothes on offer, “Our design team is made up of scientists, not fashion designers. We look at fabrics and washes with a microscope. Half of this store represents the biggest selection of ‘made in the U.S.’ products anywhere in the world. 90% of what we make is made in LA.”
With unsurpassed attention to detail and quality textiles, Levi’s Vintage Clothing is the real deal. With price points ranging from 30,000 to 80,000 yen (€265-700) the jeans, shirts, jackets and accessories are at the luxury end of the denim scale.
The store lets the clothes do the talking as the interior is minimal. The charismatic Italian explained that the team created the space themselves and eschewed the use of design companies or interior specialists. Trendy Aoyama also may not be the most logical location but he says that “instead of being in Omotesando or Cat Street or in Ginza we decided on an odd location because we are discreet, not a fashion brand. We are a space, a destination brand. We are sure people will come. This is going to become like a church. We are trying to give the public a very humble message by telling them that they have a home. If they want to come here and listen to music and hang out they can stay. We will have events like embroidery classes, music and seminars about denim. It’s a cultural space for the brand.”
Unusually for a brand with the size and reputation of Levi’s there is no media presence for Levi’s Vintage Clothing and sister casualwear label Made & Crafted – which also falls under the remit of the XX unit. Donadi says “from being a marketing driven company we are becoming a product driven company. This is revolutionary even though it should be normal. For us, though, it’s all about the product and this home. It’s not about an advertising campaign. We have no campaign – zero advertising. We don’t need that. We are in the business of selling poetry. How can you advertise poetry?”
Donadi also set the record straight regarding the position of Levi’s Vintage Clothing within the Levi’s stable. After a messy beginning and several unsuccessful attempts in the market the label, under the Italian, has a clear goal. “Although LVC was born in 1999 it was never global. It was a much smaller selection of products and was distributed in different ways in Europe, Japan and the US. There was no consistency. There was a desire for that kind of product but it was never fully developed. So XX is nothing more than a unit that takes care of and develops the top of the pyramid of Levis brands – LVC and Made & Crafted. They are both developed globally. It’s one range for the entire world – one voice, one language, one religion.”
A Levi’s Made & Crafted pop-up-store will open in Isetan Shinjuku Sep. 22 – Oct. 5.
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