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.
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 as 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 that’s a bit more out there.
1. Burgus Plus Natural Indigo 2nd Type Selvedge Denim Jacket 71949-XX
Immediately, these names sound like a mouthful, right? But there’s much information being conveyed in these arcane denim denominations. First, Burgus Plus refers to the in-house brand of Tokyo-based denim shop, Hinoya (don’t ask me why, but they often call the in-house brands “Plus”, see Beams Plus). Next, natural indigo means the denim was dyed with a plant-based indigo rather than synthetic, giving it a softer, more varied hue. “2nd Type” refers to the design of the jacket, meaning they reproduced it after a Levi’s Type 2. Selvedge denim, pretty self-explanatory. Don’t ask me what the numbers mean, but the XX refers to the fact that the denim shrinks on the first wash, something you don’t have to worry about because this jacket comes pre-washed from Burgus themselves.
Available for $203 at Hinoya.
2. Unique Garment 13.2oz. Urban Type 2 Denim Jacket
Do you live in a city? This is apparently the jacket for you! Naming conventions aside, Unique Garment Co. delivers on their brand with a one-of-a-kind “Rain-Drop” denim that’s woven from short-fiber cotton warp yarns and long fiber weft yarns to give a unique texture and fade to the jacket. They’ve also lengthened the body and shortened the sleeves slightly and added the modern convenience of hand-warmer pockets.
This unique piece can be yours for $315 at Corlection.
3. Sugar Cane 1953 Type II Unsanforized Raw Denim Jacket
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.
4. Fullcount 2102 13.75oz. 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.
5. Pherrow’s 407J Type II 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 Pherrow’s, is a little bit of a “hot take” on the Type II because it has tonal buttonhole stitching.
Plus One – Studio D’Artisan “Black Sashiko” Type 2 Jacket
East meets west in our final Type 2, which uses sashiko, a traditional Japanese stitching technique for stretching every last bit of use out of a piece of fabric. Studio D’Artisan hasn’t preworn this Type 2, but they’ve paid homage to their home country’s tradition of reusing fabrics with their own proprietary jacquard weave.