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LEVI'S Vintage Clothing Japan (LVCJ)

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Topic: LEVI'S Vintage Clothing Japan (LVCJ)
Posted By: mr randal
Subject: LEVI'S Vintage Clothing Japan (LVCJ)
Date Posted: 21 Jan 2020 at 5:03pm


1986-1990

The whole idea of Levi's Vintage Clothing started with the Levi's Japan division in the late '80s. Due in part to an exploding interest in Japan for vintage American clothing, Levi's Japan began manufacturing replicas of Levi's jeans and denim jackets for the Japanese market.
  The earliest example of a repro type offering from Levi’s japan that I have found is the 701VB from 1986. This was a limited edition ‘37 501 type, with doughnut buttons and a linen tab. I think this variation sheds some light on the doughnut buttons found on the later 702 and the “201” designation found on the 555 ‘37s- perhaps the original model for this offering was indeed an early WWII 201 Jean. Offered in a light stone wash.











 In 1987 the offerings available from the "Vintage Levi's" section of Levi's Japan were:

     701XX (later renamed the 702XX, a '37 type 501 with doughnut buttons)
     502XX (a '60s type 501 with a zip fly and a straight leg)
     70701XX (a WWII 506 type jacket)
     70702XX (a 506 type jacket)
     With the 503BXXJ making its first appearance in 1988.

  All of these models were available in two modes- rigid or heavily stonewashed.




Above are images from the SS1988 Levis Japan catalog, courtesy of ajifurai_vintage.






Replies:
Posted By: mr randal
Date Posted: 21 Jan 2020 at 5:03pm
1990-1996

In 1990 Levi's Japan started putting more energy and care into their vintage offerings. The primitive looking stone washing receded to the background in favor of rigid releases, and patterns seem to have been recut to more authentic proportions. New models were gradually added up until 1996.

In 1991 LVCJ released a series of their cuts made from natural indigo dyed denim: the 701SXX. the 503BSXX, and the 7701SXX (a bedford s71506).  In 1993/1994 they released a series of models made from an ivory pique (or Bedford cord): the 702-11 ('93), the 504z-11 ('94), and the 71506-11 (94).

A 505 and a 517 were offered in the Levi's Japan catalog for SS 1992, but these items were listed as being under the "Originals" sub-brand rather than under the "Vintage" sub-brand, so I am doubtful that they were intended to be reproductions.

From varying years (for each model) Levi's Japan produced the following Jean & jacket models. As I can verify them I'll add measurements for each model. Measurements will be, unless otherwise stated, for originally raw models (not distressed versions) that seem to have been fully shrunk, after a warm wash and before further wear. Done BIG style.
 Anyone with jeans that meet these criteria, please contribute measurements!




702XX (1930s)







Measurements (33 x 36)
w 33
th 13
kn 9.75
inseam 35
hem 9
f rise 11.75
r rise 15.5





702SXX (natural indigo 37 type offered in 1991 only)








503BXX (1950s button fly) straighter legged than a LVC '55 jean, possibly based on a Boys 501, but made here in adult [Japanese adult] sizes.)




Measurements (36 x 31)
w 17.75
th 13
kn 10
hem 9.2
f rise 12
r rise 17



504ZXX (1950s zipper fly)
 The 504z has a less exaggerated silhouette than the carrot-shaped LVC '55. For jeans with approximately the same waist size, a 504z will have a slightly higher rise and wider thigh than the '55, and a less pronounced taper, with the cuff being about an inch wider on the 504z. Offset rear belt loop, leather tag, and Talon zip.
 Produced 1994-1996.







Measurements (33 x 36)
w 33
th 13.5
kn 10
hem 9.25
f rise 12.75
r rise 16.75
inseam 36




1960s button fly






 The above jean was a Valencia street model that predates the early US LVC offerings- the one pictured was made in 1995. Levi's Japan sold the American version from 555 and not a made in japan model of a '60s button fly.




502-XX (1960s zipper fly)







Measurements (33 x 36)
w 33
th 12.75
kn 9.3
inseam 36
hem 8.4
f rise 12
r rise 15.5



551zxx (1962)
Seemed to have been offered only for one season in 1995, the Japanese version of the 551ZXX apparently being retired in favor of the US version.









s71506 (WWII era 506- 1944) A simplified version of the 506 jacket produced originally to meet war effort regulations to conserve material. This version uses donut buttons, has no pocket flap, and typically would have a reduced number of 4 placket buttons. This early LVCJ edition had 5 buttons.
 Before 1990 or 92 the leather patch stamp read "70506", changing to just "506" in 1996, then to "506XX" in 1999 or 2000. By 1998 the button number had been reduced to 4 and conforms very closely to the pattern of the US LVC wartime 506.









71506-11








71507 Type II (1953)
 Debuting in 1992 the leather patch stamp read "70507", changing to just "507" in 1996, then to "507XX" in 1999 or 2000.











71557 (type 3)









Continues on page 2 with the years 1996-1999




Posted By: Sansome
Date Posted: 21 Jan 2020 at 7:35pm
Last year thrifting, in a sea of crap jeans totaling over 300 pairs, the very last one was what might be an early LVC japan 501. Should I post that here, or over on the LVC thread?


Posted By: mr randal
Date Posted: 21 Jan 2020 at 8:15pm
Post it here, let's see.


Posted By: Sansome
Date Posted: 21 Jan 2020 at 8:39pm
Originally posted by mr randal mr randal wrote:

Post it here, let's see.


I’ll make it so.
And while I’m at it- I’ll take pics of the 2002 war time
Type 1 jacket.
I’ll post that on the reg LVC thread.


Posted By: Sansome
Date Posted: 23 Jan 2020 at 7:37pm
https://flic.kr/p/2ij8XMn" rel="nofollow"> https://flic.kr/p/2ij8XMn" rel="nofollow - jlvc2 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/52982610@N06/" rel="nofollow - bottleswest , on Flickr
https://flic.kr/p/2ijbpCp" rel="nofollow"> https://flic.kr/p/2ijbpCp" rel="nofollow - jlvc3 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/52982610@N06/" rel="nofollow - bottleswest , on Flickr
https://flic.kr/p/2ijbpAR" rel="nofollow"> https://flic.kr/p/2ijbpAR" rel="nofollow - jlvc4 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/52982610@N06/" rel="nofollow - bottleswest , on Flickr
https://flic.kr/p/2ij8XGx" rel="nofollow"> https://flic.kr/p/2ij8XGx" rel="nofollow - jlvc5 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/52982610@N06/" rel="nofollow - bottleswest , on Flickr
https://flic.kr/p/2ijbpwT" rel="nofollow"> https://flic.kr/p/2ijbpwT" rel="nofollow - jlvc6 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/52982610@N06/" rel="nofollow - bottleswest , on Flickr
https://flic.kr/p/2ij8XCj" rel="nofollow"> https://flic.kr/p/2ij8XCj" rel="nofollow - jlvc10 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/52982610@N06/" rel="nofollow - bottleswest , on Flickr
https://flic.kr/p/2ijbprT" rel="nofollow"> https://flic.kr/p/2ijbprT" rel="nofollow - jlvc9 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/52982610@N06/" rel="nofollow - bottleswest , on Flickr
https://flic.kr/p/2ij8Xy6" rel="nofollow"> https://flic.kr/p/2ij8Xy6" rel="nofollow - jlvc8 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/52982610@N06/" rel="nofollow - bottleswest , on Flickr
https://flic.kr/p/2ijbpnQ" rel="nofollow"> https://flic.kr/p/2ijbpnQ" rel="nofollow - jlvc7 by https://www.flickr.com/photos/52982610@N06/" rel="nofollow - bottleswest , on Flickr

I was talking with Mr Randal the other day- It would seem, back in the 1940's, someone at Levi's
wanted to celebrate 100 years in business in 1950. From this point- all the way into the 1990's, you would see (since 1850) In the 1990's Lynn D set the record straight.
I did the math on this pair- it looks like they were starting at 1850- so for over 140 years
takes it just past 1990.

So i think that's what's going on here?


Posted By: mr randal
Date Posted: 23 Jan 2020 at 8:48pm
Ah, a LVCJ 503b from 1992. 

I have a theory about this model- I think 503 was a Levi’s boys/young men’s line, and was popular as vintage in Japan in the ‘80s as the smaller sizes worked well for a lot of Japanese guys. I suspect that LVCJ created this model as a wider legged version of their '50s jean (no taper), and used the familiar 503 number.



Posted By: LazyS
Date Posted: 02 Feb 2020 at 3:41pm



too short for me at 28 inch inseam


Posted By: mr randal
Date Posted: 02 Feb 2020 at 4:11pm
If that was a 34W I'd take it off your hands!

I recently got a practically unworn pair of s702XX '33s from yahoo.jp that I'm really liking. Seems as good if not better than any LVC US product in construction and materials, though I think historical accuracy did improve gradually over the years.


Posted By: LazyS
Date Posted: 02 Feb 2020 at 8:00pm
hows the fit? did you get 34 or 36?

the last lvc 66 i got before cone closed were really shoddy 


Posted By: mr randal
Date Posted: 02 Feb 2020 at 9:14pm
S- I got a 34 and it measures exactly that. It seems like LVCJ had better sizing consistently than LVC- most of the ones I’ve seen measure very close to tagged size, maybe just slightly under, after shrinkage.
 Fit is just as a 33 should be- slightly fitted top block, looser thighs, perfectly straight leg. I’ll see if I can’t get a fit pic this week.


Posted By: mr randal
Date Posted: 10 Feb 2020 at 9:02pm
LVCJ 1996-1999

The launch of Levi's Vintage Clothing US in 1996 brought the following Valencia street made models into the overall LVC roster:

1955 501XX
1962 551ZXX
1937 201XX (after 1999 being relabeled the 1937 501XX)
1936 506XX
1953 507XX
1957 557

Levis Japan retired their 551ZXX and their 504ZXX. The Valencia street 1960s jean was not seen again.
Their Big Three (the 502XX, 702XX and 503BXX) continued in production.
The Japanese 70506 and 70507 continued as well, though their stamp changed to 506 and 507 respectively.

New made-in-Japan models were introduced: the s702 (1920s) and s702 (1910s) showed up in '96 and continued in production until, I believe, 1999. The "'50s Jean" model materialized around 1999- I feel like there is some back story to this jean, but have not dug it up yet.



s702XX (1910s)










s702XX (1920s)





Measurements (34 hemmed to 28)
w 33
th 13.25
kn 10
hem 9.25
f rise 12
r rise16.5


50s XX (1955?) No lot numbers printed on early productions, interior tag labeled "50s jean". A typical '50s cut- high rise, roomy top block & thighs, a taper from the knee down.







Continues with 2000-2009 on page 3






Posted By: mr randal
Date Posted: 03 Mar 2020 at 7:11pm
I've found further info and have revised the early timeline, see the first and second posts.


Posted By: robroy
Date Posted: 06 Mar 2020 at 1:13pm
Does anyone know why LVCJ did not call they’re reproductions 501s?


Posted By: mr randal
Date Posted: 06 Mar 2020 at 5:17pm
rr- I’ve heard a couple of speculations about that. 
 One is that there was a general misunderstanding about the historical use of the 701 stamp- as seen in an image of John Wayne in a book called Jeans of Heroes from 1992 in which he is identified as wearing a 701xx jean- I think the still might be from Stagecoach?
 I’ve also head Japanese denim otakus theorize that 701 was chosen purposefully to differentiate LVC releases from actual vintage. 


Posted By: Lordjon
Date Posted: 07 Mar 2020 at 3:34am
Originally posted by mr randal mr randal wrote:

rr- I’ve heard a couple of speculations about that. 
 One is that there was a general misunderstanding about the historical use of the 701 stamp- as seen in an image of John Wayne in a book called Jeans of Heroes from 1992 in which he is identified as wearing a 701xx jean- I think the still might be from Stagecoach?
 I’ve also head Japanese denim otakus theorize that 701 was chosen purposefully to differentiate LVC releases from actual vintage. 
Is it possible that the Levi's 701 existed in the 30s?
I always thought he was wearing Levi's 501 from the late 30s
The Stagecoach is from 1939.


Posted By: Maynard Fried-San
Date Posted: 09 Mar 2020 at 3:09am
Levi’s Japan 503 BSXX natural indigo from August ‘91.








-------------
Helixing my inner beanie


Posted By: mr randal
Date Posted: 10 Mar 2020 at 7:42am
^Very nice Maynard- I think that’s one of the best pieces LVCJ ever produced.

What do you think of the cut?


Posted By: Maynard Fried-San
Date Posted: 10 Mar 2020 at 9:28am
Thanks, I don’t find them to be particularly wide-legged (as described on the first page) but a fairly standard 50s cut with a slight taper, quite a flattering fit in fact, although I haven’t worn them (other than trying them on) since I bought them, second-hand but virtually new in 2015. They’re near the front of the queue though so will definitely get leg-time sooner rather than later. They were once washed when I got them and I subsequently gave them another wash to eliminate further shrinkage and the slightly musty smell they’d acquired. I think they fit like a standard size 32.

-------------
Helixing my inner beanie


Posted By: mr randal
Date Posted: 10 Mar 2020 at 4:43pm
^You're right. Maynard. I measured the pair i have (a size 36, laundered multiple times) and found a taper of 1" from the knee to hem.

I have:

W 17.75
Th 13
Kn 10
hem 9.2
F rise 12
r rise 17

I think this is a straighter leg than a '55?


Posted By: mr randal
Date Posted: 10 Mar 2020 at 5:09pm


LVCJ s702XX


Posted By: mr randal
Date Posted: 13 Mar 2020 at 4:07pm
I've been able to confirm that the LVCJ 1960s jean was actually a Valencia street model, and have revised the timeline for several models.
 See the first two posts and also page 2 for a new 1996-1999 entry.


Posted By: mr randal
Date Posted: 19 Mar 2020 at 5:25pm
LVCJ 2000-2009

The two s702XXs (33 & 37) disappear by 2000. The 50sXX jean continues for some time then also disappears, leaving the Japan original Vintage models as:

502XX
702XX
503BXX

These three models continue in production until Levi's pulled the plug on their Levi's Japan division in 2009.

After 1999 LVC US introduced many new models over the span of 2-3 years. LVCJ also produced most of these from 2000 or 2001 through 2009.  Not all models were in constant production during this time. Some were made every season or every other season (1947J, 1955J, 1966J) but others were produced more sparingly (the 1922J model I have only found from 2002 and 2007, but this is only from what I have found on yahoo.jp offerings, so may have missed some seasons of production).

LVJ models that aligned with their LVC US counterpart models were:

1873 (Lot 125)
1917
1922
1933
1937
1944
1947
1955
1966
1968 606
1967 505
506 jacket
507 jacket

Models added late in this period, 2007/08, are:

1927 501
1954 501z

Notable absences, so far as I have been able to find evidence of Japanese production of, are:

1890
1901
1915
1976 (debuted after 2009)
1978
1983

This is the most typical tag for this period- the only real variance was a longer version that appeared around 2007 on some models for a year or so, reverting back to the standard by 2009.

Front:


Back:
Manufacture date 10/09


Posted By: robroy
Date Posted: 20 Mar 2020 at 8:25am
Mark, I plead ignorance to LVCJ. What’s the nickel version? I too have been spending some time on yahoo.jp looking for deals and see plenty of good deals on LVCJ that makes me curious.



Posted By: mr randal
Date Posted: 20 Mar 2020 at 9:22am
rob- it all depends on your outlook.

 Are you dedicated to a particular LVC model and are curious about the difference? Try a 2000-2009 LVCJ of the same model in near new condition and see the differences (in japan LVC dead stock has soared in expected price, I wouldn’t pay asking for any of those, but if you are careful and patient you can find jeans in nearly new condition, sometimes unworn but detagged, for reasonable prices).

 If you want something different than LVC US, try one of LVCJs big three unique models- the 702, 503, or 502.

 If you want a piece of LVC history, the very early stuff would be the place to go, or you could look for a rarer model like their 50s Jean or one season numbers like their 551zxx or 1954 501z.


Hopefully we will talk eventually about the differences in manufacture for the various periods- the standard wisdom has always seemed to be that LVCJ has better construction and hardware, sometimes materials (patches can be of nicer leather), while US LVC often has more authentic detailing and, sometimes, more interesting denim, especially when something was specially woven for a particular model by Cone.


Posted By: robroy
Date Posted: 20 Mar 2020 at 10:00am
What purpose did Levis japan serve? Was it a subsidiary, was it a unique company that licensed the Levis name? Why were some (seasons? Models?) produced in the USA and some made in japan? Did they use cone?

I’m over dead stock, the prices are crazy. Right now I’m picking through the “washed once” (and hopefully not hemmed) for good deals.

I’ve pretty much given up on models that aren’t the 47s. Do you have any idea fit wise how LVC USA and LVCJ compare?


Posted By: mr randal
Date Posted: 20 Mar 2020 at 10:57am
I think Levi’s Japan was established in 1965- it was a regional branch of Levi’s and oversaw shipping throughout the Far East and later domestic production of some lines. That branch was the first part of Levi’s, so far as I can see, to recognize and respond to the vintage boom of the ‘80s. That branch started the idea and production of Levi’s Vintage reproductions seemingly independently from Levi’s headquarters (though presumably with approval).
I suspect Levi’s headquarters really only got involved when they saw the potential profit in the idea. So LVCJ led the way, and LVC US capitalized on their work and philosophy, expanded it, ran with it, then crushed it in 2009, iirc it was cost cutting to facilitate stock buybacks.


Posted By: Maynard Fried-San
Date Posted: 26 Mar 2020 at 9:14am
Measurements (BiG style) for a size 33 503 BSXX after a couple of washes and very little wear.

Waist: 33.25"
FR: 12.5"
BR: 15.5"
Thigh: 12.75"
Hem: 8.5"
Inseam: 33.75"

Originally posted by mr randal mr randal wrote:

^You're right. Maynard. I measured the pair i have (a size 36, laundered multiple times) and found a taper of 1" from the knee to hem.

I have:

W 17.75
Th 13
Kn 10
hem 9.2
F rise 12
r rise 17

I think this is a straighter leg than a '55?


-------------
Helixing my inner beanie


Posted By: Mr. Q
Date Posted: 26 Mar 2020 at 4:12pm
Originally posted by mr randal mr randal wrote:

LVCJ 2000-2009

The two s702XXs (33 & 37) disappear by 2000. The 50sXX jean continues for some time then also disappears, leaving the Japan original Vintage models as:

502XX
702XX
503BXX


Thank you for this very informative post, Mr. R. I really like the looks of those 702s!


Posted By: mr randal
Date Posted: 27 Mar 2020 at 9:15am
Glad to do it, Q.

Thanks Maynard, let me have the knee measurement and I will plug that data in.


Posted By: mr randal
Date Posted: 12 Apr 2020 at 8:08pm




A fairly rare example of a LVCJ 504Z that surfed in in front of the Covid shipping shutdown wave.

These have the highest rise of any LVCJ model I've tried, a good bit of hip flare, and a straight leg.


Posted By: Dr_Heech
Date Posted: 14 Apr 2020 at 12:23am
They are a good fit on you Mr. R.
I've never seen or heard of those 504z's, they look alot better than the early 502/503b models of the early 90's.
Good score.


Posted By: Maynard Fried-San
Date Posted: 03 Jul 2020 at 5:36pm
This has been the best thread on here. I recently bought a pair of 503s from Yahoo auctions in size 32. I’ll post some pics and measurements. Watch this space...

-------------
Helixing my inner beanie


Posted By: Sansome
Date Posted: 04 Jul 2020 at 2:53pm
Originally posted by Maynard Fried-San Maynard Fried-San wrote:

This has been the best thread on here. I recently bought a pair of 503s from Yahoo auctions in size 32. I’ll post some pics and measurements. Watch this space...






                               👌👏🙏


Posted By: Denimetc
Date Posted: 05 Jul 2020 at 12:12pm
^^Indeed. Now that I know what to look for, these late 90's Japan models do pop up in the vintage stores occasionally. I just found a pair of 702's in my size. Paid whopping 35€ for them. Buttons stamped "J22" 

-------------
Too much Denim - too little time...


Posted By: Denimetc
Date Posted: 07 Jul 2020 at 2:50am

Japan 702 30's model jeans (no XX). Wash tag has been cut but top button stamped J22. 

These W32 L34 measure now:
W   16.0
FR  11.8
T  12.2
L  9.0
I  30 (hemmed obviously bc no chainstitch)





-------------
Too much Denim - too little time...


Posted By: Mr. Q
Date Posted: 22 Jul 2020 at 11:06am
More S702XX action. Leather tag has no XX, but wash tag does state S702XX. J22 buttons








Made in Bulgaria 44s on top, Made in Japan in the middle, and Made in the USA 47s on the bottom


Posted By: Lordjon
Date Posted: 25 Jul 2020 at 3:48am
These are my 1937 Japanese Levi's 501. From the inside label I think they were made in September 2003. It's a shame the leather tag is gone. I have preferred to sew a piece of leather to them that to leave it with nothing.
Having seen original Levi's from that era, the rear pocket bows on this replica are just too perfect.
I have also put some cat's eye buttons on them because they are a bit too big for me.
 
 
Regards.


Posted By: robroy
Date Posted: 27 Jul 2020 at 6:18pm
I found this list of JVCJ product codes while searching internet diamonds.


http://www.casual.co.jp/levis/vintage/" rel="nofollow - http://www.casual.co.jp/levis/vintage/


Posted By: mr randal
Date Posted: 28 Jul 2020 at 10:20am
Robroy- thanks! That is a gem.

If all those are Japanese production I’ve missed a few things- let’s keep an eye out on yahoo.jp for Japanese made 201s and 1983s...


Posted By: mr randal
Date Posted: 28 Jul 2020 at 10:22am
Lordjon those look great! I like the addition of the leather patch- deer hide?


Posted By: Lordjon
Date Posted: 28 Jul 2020 at 12:01pm
Originally posted by mr randal mr randal wrote:

Lordjon those look great! I like the addition of the leather patch- deer hide?
 
It is leather to make gloves, but I do not know its origin


Posted By: robroy
Date Posted: 31 Jul 2020 at 11:54am
I’ve been keeping an eye on yahoo Japan, and a 33 waist seems like I’d have some margin for error, but 33 waist is pretty rare. 32, all day long. Story of my life.
I found a worn pair of 32s that measures wearable for me, what amount of stretch and shrink are people experiencing with the Japanese made versions? I see some 32s listed measuring under 30” and this particular pair around 31”.


Posted By: Lordjon
Date Posted: 31 Jul 2020 at 12:20pm
Originally posted by robroy robroy wrote:

I’ve been keeping an eye on yahoo Japan, and a 33 waist seems like I’d have some margin for error, but 33 waist is pretty rare. 32, all day long. Story of my life.
I found a worn pair of 32s that measures wearable for me, what amount of stretch and shrink are people experiencing with the Japanese made versions? I see some 32s listed measuring under 30” and this particular pair around 31”.
 
My w34 is a real W32



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