• Shop
Shop

7 Pairs of Repro Denim: Bringing the Classics Back to Life

Denim has a long history that spans over three centuries now. It has gone from a true workwear staple used only by those who needed it to a fabric that has been embraced by the general population and has spawned a whole movement of enthusiasts that enable sites like this to exist. It seems that many periods of history in America can be defined by the prevalent style of denim (mostly by the Big Three: Levi’sWrangler, and Lee). That legacy lives on today, where certain styles of jeans are explicitly modeled after specific years in denim: 1947, 1954, 1966, etc.

There are a multitude of distinct styles and production standards from each time period that have all influenced the jeans jeans we see today. Some enthusiast denim brands have gone so far as to recreate certain jeans from a bygone era, or even based their whole brand behind recreating these jeans. The whole idea behind this repro denim has slowly grown and become more common with some brands producing jeans that are as close to the real vintage jean as possible.

Here are a few of our favorites:

Levi’s Vintage Clothing 1947 501

7-pairs-of-repro-denim-bringing-the-classics-back-to-life-lvc-1947-front-back

Levi’s Vintage Clothing is dedicated to reproducing vintage Levi’s pieces and any of their jeans could be included on this list but we’ll just stick with two. The 1947 501 is probably the most recognizable and reproduced cut, which you’ll see again in a few of the examples here.

7-pairs-of-repro-denim-bringing-the-classics-back-to-life-lvc-1947-leg-down-seam-and-back-patch

It has the now classic high rise with a slimmer top block that runs straight through the leg. Details-wise, it features the two horses leather patch, hidden rivets, stitched back pocket arcuates and the reappearance of the watch pocket rivets.

Available at Brooklyn Denim Co. for $260. Images courtesy LVC.

Levi’s Vintage Clothing 1954 501Z

7-pairs-of-repro-denim-bringing-the-classics-back-to-life-lvc-1954-front-back

LVC’s 1954 501Z was a controversial jean that has since become a pretty popular silhouette with its slim tapered cut. The Z stands for the zipper fly, a detail added to appeal to the East Coast market, which was more used to zippered pants at the time.

7-pairs-of-repro-denim-bringing-the-classics-back-to-life-lvc-1954-zipper-and-small-label

It still retains the higher rise and details like the leather patch, rivets, and mid weight Cone Mills denim.

Available at Brooklyn Denim Co. for $260. Images courtesy LVC.

Sugar Cane 1947

7-pairs-of-repro-denim-bringing-the-classics-back-to-life-back-patch

Based on the classic Levi’s 1947 501 jeans, Sugar Cane‘s version is full of period correct details that includes the hidden rivets and the 14oz denim that is carefully woven and dyed to match the same indigo color as the original.

7-pairs-of-repro-denim-bringing-the-classics-back-to-life-lvc-1947-front-back-on-model

Made completely in Japan, the fit stays true to the 1947 with its high rise and straight leg cut.

Available at Self Edge for $249

Red Cloud R423XX

social-7-pairs-of-repro-denim-bringing-the-classics-back-to-life-red-cloud-423-model-front-back

Also based on the 1947, Red Cloud R423XX takes the same fit and details but updates it with their own 13.75oz right hand twill denim made from cotton grown in Xinjiang, China.

social-7-pairs-of-repro-denim-bringing-the-classics-back-to-life-red-cloud-423-back-pocket-and-leg-down-seam

Other details include a Red Cloud tab, lambskin patch, and 100% cotton threading.

Available at Tuck Shop for $189

The Real McCoy’s Lot 003

7-pairs-of-repro-denim-bringing-the-classics-back-to-life-the-real-mccoys-lot-003-back-top-pocket

During WWII, many materials were in short supply which prompted the government to put in restrictions that required clothing companies to change what they used to make their clothes.

7-pairs-of-repro-denim-bringing-the-classics-back-to-life-the-real-mccoys-lot-003-label-and-buttons

The Real McCoy’s Lot 003 reflects the jeans made during this time with details like the logo-less buttons and rivets, absence of rivets on the coin pocket, asymmetrical back pocket stitching and all cotton thread. They stray a bit with a 17oz. Japanese selvedge denim but all in all, it maintains the WWII aesthetic.

Available at Blue in Green for $436

Toys McCoy Engineers Denim Lot 135D

7-pairs-of-repro-denim-bringing-the-classics-back-to-life-toys-mccoy-engineer-front-back

With the supply shortage during WWII, higher quality workwear clothing were reserved for military personnel and factory workers involved with industries that were helping the war efforts. Toys McCoy Engineers Denim Lot 135D attempts to replicate the jeans worn by aircraft manufacturing workers.

It’s made from a 13.5 oz selvedge denim and has details like “U.S.A.A.T” branded rivets, US Army Air Force logo and slogan printed on the pockets, olive threading on the button hole that widely used during WWII, offset back belt loop, and leather patch design that honors the airline industry.

Available at DC4 for $380

Lee Japan 1952 101Z

7-pairs-of-repro-denim-bringing-the-classics-back-to-life-lee-101-zipper-and-labels

Lee has a long history with denim dating all the way back to the early 1900s. While their presence has diminished in the latter half of the century, they had a pretty significant presence in American culture with icons like James Dean and Bob Dylan favoring their jeans.

7-pairs-of-repro-denim-bringing-the-classics-back-to-life-lee-101-front-and-leg-down-seam

The Lee 1952 101Z is a reproduction of the exact jean manufactured and popularized in 1952 featuring a 13.75oz left hand twill selvedge denim. Lee has carefully replicated the iconic leather patch that leaves off the the “R” trademark sign that didn’t appear until after the 60s, cross bartacked back pockets, half lined back pockets, zipper fly, and copper and yellow thread.

Sold out at Aero Leather Clothing for $284

What are some of your favorite models of repro denim? Sound off in the comments below!