WWII is one of those strange eras in denim that seems to crop up again and again. Due to wartime rationing, the Levi’s 501 models lacked a few key details; including rivets, the back cinch, and thread arcuates. There were some additions too, like surplus olive drab pocket bags, donut buttons that used less metal on the fly, and painted-on arcuates.
This was, from a practical standpoint, a worse jean in pretty much every aspect than the pre-war model. But its uniqueness made it iconic, especially amongst Japanese manufacturers, all of whom seem to have their own version of the WWII jean. This one comes from one of the original Osaka 5, Denime, and their version checks all the historically accurate boxes. And UMass Amherst student Ben Keefe has worn them into a beautiful vintage fade worthy of the era they represent.
The straight fit of jeans from this era doesn’t lend itself to razor-sharp whiskers and honeycombs, but rather a slow and honest indigo loss that reflects Ben’s days of running to class and scouring vintage shops. They’ve held up well except for the pocketbags, which he’s had to repair by hand.