To celebrate the launch of Levi’s Made & Crafted we caught up with the label’s Design Director Miles Johnson to find out more about the brand’s autumn/winter 2013 collection of high end denim and casualwear.
Tell us about the autumn/winter 2013 menswear collection.
Before designing the autumn/winter 2013 collection we took a road trip to Lake Huron, a drive north of busy, industrial Detroit. We were inspired by their lakeside surroundings – the colours of the lake, the rocks, the structures in constant repair—and the varied textures of the traditional woollen and cotton fabrics one needs to live in this landscape. The resulting collection draws many of its colours, prints, patterns and fabric concepts from the elements the designers encountered on this quiet American adventure. At the same time, it pulls in a myriad of other influences from the modern American frontier and playfully combines the old with the new, the high with the low, and the wild with the subdued. Finely woven yarn-dyed knits are crafted into casual T-shirts for men. Silks are blended with cottons to create soft but durable tops for women. Natural indigo is used to dye winter-weight fabrics. Many of the women’s silhouettes radically challenge the conventions of proportion and symmetry. Performance-enhancing fabric technologies make an appearance but remain invisible. This Levi’s Made and Crafted collection, like those past and those to come, dares to go where the Levi’s brand has never been before, offering up a fresh new take on modern American luxury Levi’s style.
Could you tell us about the difference between Levi’s Vintage Clothing, Levi’s Red Tab and Levi’s Made & Crafted?
Levi’s Vintage Clothing celebrates our history by reproducing of some of our favourite garments, looking back through 140 years of archival clothing. Levi’s Red Tab is for everyone and is now very accessible. Levi’s Made and Crafted is more directional and experimental with fabrications while retaining a strong Levi’s character. There are four things that Levi’s Made and Crafted is famous for:
1. Using only the finest materials and fabrics: we develop the most interesting fabrics with the best mills from around the world
2. Crafting with care: every garment is cut, sewn and finished using the best methods available
3. Obsessing over the details: we obsess about the little things because they make a big difference
4. Indigo and denim expertise: we are Levi’s. We invented the denim game and we are still the best at it
Why did Levi’s launch Levi’s Made & Crafted?
Because we wanted to provide a more modern premium collection for a consumer who wanted more from the brand.
All three brands are different (Levi’s Red Tab, Levi’s Vintage Clothing and Levi’s Made & Crafted). What is the common ethos that binds all three together under the Levi’s umbrella?
We have a strong identity as a brand and a tried-and-tested wardrobe that works for us. Sticking with this and some of the recognisable details and fits, each division of the brand works out its own take.
Could you describe the man who would shop from Levi’s Made & Crafted?
Modern, understated, Levi’s-minded, with a stylish edge.
You’ve been the head of Levi’s Vintage Clothing for nearly 10 years. Does what you do for Levi’s Vintage Clothing inform/inspire your creations for Levi’s Made & Crafted, and vice versa?
Yes, it all comes from the same place at the end of the day, but sometimes you find very modern constructions and details which can be reworked and inform our Levi’s Made & Crafted line.
You also work on exhibitions for Levi’s. Where do you find the time? What’s your secret?
I don’t know. I just love what I do and somehow manage to fit it all in. I couldn’t do it without my team, who make it all happen and give me the time to work on as many different designs as I possibly can.
Your love for denim, when and how did that start?
It’s been going on for a long time. I started wearing Levi’s jeans when I was 7 years old and haven’t stopped wearing them. When I went to St Martins to study fashion I used denim and realised that my passion for the fabric and its design was what I felt most excited about.
What’s it like heading up the lines? What’s the best thing about it and what’s the biggest challenge?
It’s great working on the premium lines (including Levi’s RED). I love the challenge of what we do with building different collections for different people within the identity of the brand. Many people grew up with Levi’s. It’s good to keep building on the things we’re good at.
What’s next for Levi’s Made & Crafted? What do you want the world to know about Levi’s Made & Crafted?
We are working on showing experimental pieces in the future men’s and women’s lines; mixing fabrications and including technology and performance in the mix with a great denim fit portfolio and a wide range of washes.
Shop our online edit of Levi’s Made & Crafted online or visit us in-store.
British timepiece brand, Uniform Wares, has been designing pared-back, everyday wristwatches since 2009. Since then designers Oliver Fowles and Patrick Bek have gone on to enjoy great success, recognition and publicity for their minimal, practical accessories that focus on modern, quality materials.
This Saturday 23 November, from 11am to 6pm, the designers will be in-store in Men’s Accessories on Lower Ground for an exclusive event. You’ll be able to purchase one-off, limited edition and exclusive watch straps in various materials including luxury leathers and skins, super soft Italian rubber and Milanese mesh strap bracelets. Find out more about the event.
We caught up with Oliver and Patrick to learn more about the ins and outs of the brand, their designs and what, in their opinion, makes the perfect watch.
Where did you both learn about design?
OLIVER: We both met whilst studying Furniture and Related Product Design at Buckingham Chilterns University.
What elements and knowledge do you each bring to your designs?
PATRICK: Designing the watches always starts with an animated conversation to decide on a concept. Once this is established, I’ll work on the case design, 3-D modelling and prototyping. Oliver focuses on the dials, textures, bracelets and finishes. Then there’s a lot more discussion about colour/material swatches and models and prototypes to drill down the idea into a feasible design.
The process has changed considerably since we started the brand though. Each new design is partly driven by the existing collections and also by the expansion of our customer base and retailers. We’ve spent a lot of time in the past year or so defining what each collection means to our audience and why it should exist. It’s important that it is unique and recognisable as Uniform Wares.
We don’t want to design a watch for the sake of it, we need to feel like there is a need. We like the fact that a lot of our customers are men and women that have never owned a watch before and have now decided to buy one of our pieces.
So what’s the story behind your watch designs? Why did you decided to create your own line of timepieces?
OLIVER: It was 2008 when we first had the idea for Uniform Wares. We had been working on furniture projects together and we were discussing how we could start a business that we could run at the same time as handling our projects for other manufacturers. We wanted to do something that would allow us to have complete control over design, production and distribution. With this in mind we decided to focus on small, personal objects that we could store and distribute from our studio; objects that are part of our everyday uniform, hence the brand’s name. We have both always loved watches so decided that our first design would be a timepiece.
Where do you look for/ find inspiration?
PATRICK: We are inspired by our customers; they shape the development of our future collections on a daily basis. We are also learning from the masters of high-end watch manufacture. We visited the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva and it is hard to ignore the impact of that company on the entire watch industry; their influence runs deep and rightly so. Regardless of their design, they have never compromised or deviated from their principles. In terms of product design we both own a few pieces from Konstantin Grcic and have a great admiration for the work of Dieter Rams, Michael Marriott and Naoto Fukasawa, to name a few.
In your eyes, what makes the perfect watch?
OLIVER: Considered timepiece design achieves perfection when it successfully balances the functional nature of a wristwatch with the aesthetic qualities of a piece of jewellery.
Are your watch straps interchangeable?
OLIVER: Yes, most of the collection is interchangeable, with a few exceptions. However, we design all of our straps with the customer in mind so that they have the option to change materials, as the strap can define when and how a watch is used.
Do you have a certain customer in mind when you’re designing? Are Uniform Wares watches created specifically for men?
PATRICK: Each reference is created with a specific type of person in mind. However, we’ve found that the brand’s aesthetic and design values resonate with a wide audience, which really pleases us. Uniform Wares watches are always designed with both men and women in mind. We are a unisex brand.
What’s your favourite watch you’ve made?
PATRICK: It definitely has to be the 251 Series in brushed steel.
OLIVER: It has to be one of the new prototype, split-time chronographs we’ve been working on. One of the perks of owning a watch company is getting to wear a watch that no one else has yet!
Lastly, what’s on your Liberty Christmas wish list?
OLIVER: I first discovered this scent at Liberty and it’s been a favourite since: Byredo Sunday Cologne 100ml.
PATRICK: I’m all about coats and shoes, so this will definitely be on my Christmas list this year: Our Legacy Shield Parka Jacket.
As part of Get Creative, Grenson are giving customers the chance to create their own personalised pair of G:Lab shoes which will then be made in their Northampton factory, using the same techniques that have been honed to perfection since the 1800s.
So what happens to your design once you’ve picked out the fabric, colour, sole and personal message? We had Grenson talk us through their process.
For starters, as the shoes designed at Get Creative are made to order, they will all be made individually. This means that the factory essentially shuts down all other production whilst each pair is built by hand – or hand controlled machine – through 250 separate processes. So while your shoes might start life on Roger’s pattern table, they will soon be passed onto the clicking, closing, lasting and finishing stages. Each process is completed by one individual at a time; ensuring the undivided attention of the craftsperson at each stage.
Vital to Grenson is the belief that time creates quality. ‘Goodyear Welted’ is a time consuming process but it means that 140 years of experience goes into every pair. These techniques also make the shoes far easier to replace the sole and repair, making them a wonderful investment.
Finally, once your shoes have arrived, make sure to care for them by wearing at least three or four times before you allow them to get wet. To improve the sheen, allow shoe polish to sit on the shoes as long as possible, ideally overnight.
Every pair of G:Lab shoes designed at Get Creative will be made entirely in Northampton using the processes described above, a truly unique opportunity.
Drop into the Liberty store before Saturday 2nd November to order your shoes on LG floor Men’s and 1st floor Women’s.
Have you seen some of Grenson’s shoemakers crafting shoes live inside our Regent Street store windows?
The August bank holiday weekend has finally arrived and there’s no better time to get out and enjoy the capital’s dynamic parties, live music and tantalising food more than now. As the last bank holiday of the summer, it always seems to significantly mark of the end of our warm weather season with its long sunny days, balmy evenings and a particular craving for cider.
With that in mind we’ve selected three of this weekend’s best outdoor events to help make the most of the last few days of summer. Eat fresh food, drink heady refreshments, and dance until dawn – just don’t stay in!
Notting Hill Carnival
Yes, we know. You’ve already heard that it’s carnival weekend (24-26 August), and you probably already know what to expect… But it really is a must! Follow the footsteps of more than one million revellers, Londoners and visitors as they hit the streets of West London for the annual three-day long party of Europe’s biggest street festival. Spanning over 20 miles, it’s a hedonistic spectacle of brightly coloured, exotic costumes, with the sound of drums, whistles and sound systems blasting, and the mouth watering smell of Caribbean food wafting through the air.
What to wear:
White Mangetout Print T-Shirt, £75 – Être Cécile | Blue Skin 5 Genua Skinny Jeans, £190 – Acnen | Multicolour Brain Print Scarf, £295 – Christopher Kane | Leopard Momo Cross-Body Bag, £440 – Jerome Dreyfuss | Heat Wave Lipstick, £18.50 – NARS
The Book Club Presents: Bookstock-On-Sea
Sunday 25 August
Back for its third year, the culturally advanced Shoreditch bar and venue The Book Club presents Bookstock – its August Bank Holiday street party held on Leonard Street. This year the free event has chosen a nautical theme in celebration of the great British summer. Predominantly a daytime event – starting at 12pm and running until 8pm officially – features a live soundtrack from legendary disco band Odyssey, hip hop duo The Nextmen, Prince tribute act Princeless, The Golden Boys, Disco Bloodbath’s Ben Pistor, Big In Japan’s Capita, and Bad Zuke which will span across three arenas. For those who are partial to a spot of daytime raving, take a trip to ‘Under the Pier’ (aka The Book Club basement) where you’ll be treated to an entrancing set by To The Lazer Cave with a hypnotic display of over 30 lights and lasers. But it’s not just about the music, guys. The people behind this beside-the-seaside festival have curated a selection of the best British seaside activities for you to get stuck into and have a jolly good knees up!
What to wear:
Ecru Taped Half Stripe Shirt, £140 – Folk | Navy Slim Leg Chinos, £155 – Levi’s Made and Crafted | Frank Acetate Frame Sunglasses, £160 - Oliver Peoples | Little America Rubber Backpack, £90 – Herschel | Polished Steel 152 Series Wristwatch, £220 – Uniform Wares
Camden Beach at The Roundhouse
If, like a small handful of us, you’ve missed out on a trip to the beach this summer – fear not. This Saturday may be the last chance you get to feel sand between your toes and soak up English seaside aesthetics a little closer to home. Rolling with the strapline ‘You got 99 problems but a beach ain’t one’, Camden Beach at The Roundhouse made a full return this summer and is better than ever. Expect over 150 tonnes of fine sand, live performances from the next big things in music, beach huts to hire for the day, deck chairs, ping pong and masses of tasty food and ice-cold drinks. The best bits: it’s absolutely free to get in and children are welcome, too. So grab your beach towels, sun protection and your book and make for London’s most top notch beach to make a family and friends day out of it.
Find out more.
What to take:
Blue Iphis Tote Bag, £295 – Liberty London | Tiger Floral Print Silk Scarf, £165 – Kenzo | Peach 0935 Wayfarer Mirrored Sunglasses, £310 – Cutler and Gross | Sun City Protection SPF30, £50 – Dr Sebagh | Fluid Body Sun Screen SPF30, £88 – Sisley | Molecule 01, £66 – Escentric Molecules
The #LibertyStyleTeam are here! Want to find out about men’s summer accessories trends? Tweet your sartorial questions from now until 2pm — Liberty London (@LibertyLondon) August 1, 2013
@LibertyLondon What is the biggest men’s summer accessories trend this season? #LibertyStyleTeam — Karen Hodkinson (@karenhodkinson) August 1, 2013
@karenhodkinson we are obsessing over printed backpacks, check out @givenchy‘s paisley print backpacks #LibertyStyleTeam — Liberty London (@LibertyLondon) August 1, 2013
@karenhodkinson and @wantpassport‘s Kastrup packpack: http://t.co/5F3gUNcASD #LibertyStyleTeam — Liberty London (@LibertyLondon) August 1, 2013
It’s gorgeous! RT @LibertyLondon: @karenhodkinson and @wantpassport‘s Kastrup packpack: http://t.co/BXksjihBhL #LibertyStyleTeam — Karen Hodkinson (@karenhodkinson) August 1, 2013
Step into summer with #BottegaVeneta‘s stitched trainers #libertystyleteam pic.twitter.com/3XIYwBxUiT — Liberty London (@LibertyLondon) August 1, 2013
@LibertyLondon Is this suitable for women? — Karen Hodkinson (@karenhodkinson) August 1, 2013
@karenhodkinson they start at a mens size 7, which is roughly a ladies size 8 #LibertyStyleTeam — Liberty London (@LibertyLondon) August 1, 2013
Team #TomFord subtle sunglasses with #Wooyoungmi‘s graphic t-shirt #libertystyleteampic.twitter.com/DtIQYnzOe0 — Liberty London (@LibertyLondon) August 1, 2013
Carven sweatshirt | Herschel backpack
For more information and enquiries about these products please call our customer services department on +44 (0)20 7734 1234.