POPULAR SCIENCE: Levi’s® Engineering

We’ve seen a swathe of sportswear, luxury, and heritage labels reboot products from their 1990s archives in recent months, but Levi’s® probably packs the biggest legacy of all of them: founded in 1873, the brand is responsible for one of the most iconic garments ever produced – the Levi’s® 501 – and has defined the signature styles of various youth- and subcultures since the 1950s. When Levi’s® Engineered Jeans™ appeared in 1999, at the apex of the first dot-com boom, they were wildly successful. The concept epitomized the times: the design messaged a forward-thinking approach, the jeans’ “ergonomic” twisted side seams and darted yoke suggestive of the future of apparel, emphasizing adaptability and function for a swiftly evolving digital landscape. Silicon Valley came back, post-2000s, with a vengeance, and now Levi’s® Engineered Jeans™ have too.

The special edition re-issue for Spring/Summer 2019 expands the engineered narrative of the original product using contemporary technologies in stealth four-way stretch and 3D-knitting, all while referencing the 1999 red back patch, inner pockets, and hanger loop detail. The result is a product line that imagines “what it could be like to make the jeans of the future,” according to Jonathan Cheung, Senior VP at Levi’s® Global Design, while paying homage to the brand’s legacy. Accompanying the Levi’s® Engineered Jeans™ reboot is the new Levi’s® Engineered Knit series: sportswear whose fabric is sewn as the garment is constructed, cutting the separate panels required to make a pair of jeans in half and saving on fabric waste and weave time – emphasizing not only the functional versatility of the garments, but the importance of sustainability in their manufacturing.

Naturally, we tested out the 2019 Levi’s® Engineered line – complete with sideways subversion of the globally ubiquitous Levi’s® red tab t-shirt – at the Technical University of Berlin (Technische Universität Berlin), known worldwide for its highly ranked engineering programs. Photographer Christian Werner shot the collection at TU’s Institute for Mathematics, housed in an “Eco-modern” construction designed by architects Georg Kohlmaier and Barna von Sartory. Their building concept prioritized technological savvy and energy efficiency, conveyed with the distinct aesthetic verve and optimism of the 1980s – a retro-future setting for 21st century research and innovation.

#Levis #LiveinLevis

Related Content

  • THE BIG FLAT NOW: Power, Flatness, and Nowness in the Third Millennium

    As a contemporary metaphor, flatness describes how the invention of the Internet has restructured global society. At its origin, its promise was a social revolution founded on intersectional equality and universal democracy. It is our contention that that promise may yet be fully realized.More
  • Deeper

  • Life Exists: Theaster Gates’ Black Image Corporation

    Theaster Gates' “The Black Image Corporation” presents photographs from the holdings of Chicago’s Johnson Publishing Company, a sprawling archive that shaped “the aesthetic and cultural languages of contemporary African American identity.” Gates approached the project as a celebration and activation of the black image in Milan through photographs of women photographed by Moneta Sleet Jr. and Isaac Sutton – of black entrepreneurship and legacy-making. “Life exists” in the Johnson archive, he says, just as it exists and should be honored in other places of black creativity.More
  • FRIDA ESCOBEDO: The Era of the Starchitect is Over

    Rising Mexican architect Frida Escobedo is relentlessly inquisitive, eschewing stylistic constants in favour of an overriding preoccupation with shifting dynamics. Personal curiosity is the driving force behind her practice, which makes he an outlier in a profession dominated by extroverted personalities keen on making bold assertions. "I think it really is a generational shift," Escobedo says. "The idea of the starchitect making grand gestures with huge commissions is over."More
  • “I live a hope despite my knowing better”: James Baldwin in Conversation With Fritz J. Raddatz (1978)

    Born in Berlin in 1931, editor and writer Fritz J. Raddatz relied on food delivered by African American GIs after the death of his parents. To Baldwin he was an “anti-Nazi German who has the scars to prove it.” Debating his return to the USA after 25 years, Baldwin explores the political climate in America at the end of the 1970s in a conversation at home in Saint-Paul-de-Vence.More
  • House as Archive: James Baldwin’s Provençal Home

    For her new book, Magdalena J. Zaborowska visited the house Baldwin occupied from 1971 to 1987 “to expand his biography and explore the politics and poetics of blackness, queerness, and domesticity”. Here, she narrates her early journeys to Baldwin’s home and proposes a salve for its recent loss: a virtual presentation of Baldwin’s home and effects.More
  • Where are the real investments? Theaster Gates on James Baldwin

    The Chicago-based artist talks to Victoria Camblin about materializing the past, the house as museum, and preserving black legacies. Social and artistic engagement, Gates suggests, may allow the contents and spirit of Baldwin’s home, and others like it, to settle in lived experience.More