Five Plus One is our weekly series of buyer’s guides. We pick a specific category and dig up five great options along with one that’s a little outside the norm.
Five Plus One is our weekly series of buyer’s guides. We take one item in a given category and explore five great options plus one more that’s a little outside the norm.
The Type II denim jacket is a bit of an odd duck in jeans history. Levi’s only produced the model number 507XX Type II for less than a decade, between 1953 and 1962, before it was replaced by the iconic Type III trucker jacket we all know today, but that brief period left a strong impression on vintage collectors and repro brands alike.
The Type II was only a modest improvement of the Type I jacket, which reigned from 1906-1952, the most notable addition being a second pocket and side tabs, while the knife pleats and boxy fit remained unchanged.
It seems though many of the Japanese denim brands prioritize a Type II repro before considering the more prevalent Type III and below we have some of our favorite offerings, including one a bit more out there.
1. Levi’s Vintage Clothing: 1953 Type II Jacket in Rigid
First up, we have the original–errr, the repro of the original made by the original–old style Levi’s made by Levi’s archival division, Levi’s Vintage Clothing. The design team at LVC goes to extreme lengths working from original pieces to reproduce every detail, stitch, and fabric character to produce a nearly one-to-one identical piece. This one happened to pick the inaugural year of the Type II, 1953, and it’s as close as you’ll get to stepping into a time machine and buying one yourself.
Available for $385 at Levi’s.
2. Oni Denim 02517GCKHN 16oz. Kihannen 2nd Type Denim Jacket
They say the devil is in the details, and that’s certainly true at Oni Denim. The name of the brand means “demon” in Japanese and the devils that work there are notoriously secretive about their craft. One thing that’s not secret, though, is how good of a product they make. Oni constructs their Type II out of a green cast 16oz., which is slubby and irregular as hell, and they’re free to mix time periods as this jacket incorporates donut “peace laurel” buttons that were popular with material rations in WWII.
Get the devil on your back for $271 at Denimio.
3. Sugar Cane 1953 Type II Unsanforized Raw Denim Jacket – Modified Length
One thing you might notice from old photos is that people used to wear their pants a lot higher, practically at navel-level. As a consequence, jackets were cut much higher to match. For those that don’t go all the way with their repro, that has lead to some unfortunate denim-bare midriffs. Have no fear, Sugar Cane is here to cover you up with a pitch-perfect Type II that’s just a little bit longer in the body. Make sure you size it extra long though, this one’s a shrinker.
Available for $240 at Self Edge.
4. Fullcount 15.5oz. Type 2 Selvedge Denim Jacket
Sometimes you travel all over the world to find the best, when it turns out it was right at home the whole time. This was NOT the case for Mikiharu Tsujita of Fullcount & Co., the mastermind behind one of Japan’s first repro denim brands. Mikiharu traveled all the way to Zimbabwe to find the longest staple, most luxurious cotton to use in his denim, which you can find on his version of the Type II jacket above.
Available for $275 at Okayama Denim.
5. Eternal 886 2nd Type Denim Jacket
Okay, some of you have probably gotten to this point and thought, “he’s just posting different photos of the same jacket over and over again! All these different companies can’t seriously make the exact same thing?!” I assure you, I am not and I assure you, yes they are, but it’s not hard to come to that conclusion. The way you put together a repro piece is similar to making a hamburger, it’s gonna have a bun and a patty and probably some cheese and onions. The constituent parts aren’t important, it’s about what makes them tick–but where did the onions come from, what kind of knife was used to cut them, was the harvester that picked them running diesel or gasoline? THESE ARE LEGITIMATELY ANALOGOUS QUESTIONS TO THE DENIM COMMUNITY. For example, this jacket from Eternal, is a little bit of a “hot take” on the Type II because it has tonal buttonhole stitching.
Be a rebel for $250 at Denimio.
Plus One – Studio D’Artisan No. D4385AI
Hand Dyed Natural Indigo 2nd Type Jacket
So we’ve reached the final boss as it were of Type II-land. Studio D’artisan is not a brand known for half measures, and their top contender, the D4385AI goes all the way. Yes, it has all the expected pieces of a Type II, but take a look at that denim. Where most of the jackets on this list–very nice jackets–have inky dark denims you can barely see through, this one looks like the surface of a peaceful mountain brook, rolling and bubbling away into an overpriced water bottle. That deep color comes from using natural plant indigo, a process that takes months to ferment and dye properly. This Type II is so nice they should call it a Type IV.
Go blue for $700 green at Blue in Green.