Reese Cooper, like most folks, is plenty familiar with Levi's, the San Francisco-born company credited with pushing denim into the mainstream. Now, as a fashion designer with his own eponymous brand, he's spent a considerable amount of time reflecting on the ways in which he experience the brand while living in both Atlanta and London through his adolescence.
In Atlanta, he scooped classic 501s from Tractor Supply stores, where farming supplies and power tools are probably the most sold items. In London, he was met with refined Levi's iterations at stores like Dover Street Market, where the cheapest item is equivalent to two week's pay for the typical person. He knows Levi's as an innately American workwear brand, but also an export, a style-defining essential some folks only know as a fashion statement. Both consumer experiences informed his collaboration with the blue jean behemoth, which drops on June 23rd via Levi's online store.
"You think of Levi’s as being cool, like the classic 501," Cooper says. "But on the original back patch, it calls out its durability with the rivets and canvas and denim. I just wanted to tie together the two main components the brand was built on. For me, this was an opportunity to essentially make proper heritage workwear with a company that pioneered it."
Cooper draws influences from several industries for his own collections: the outdoors, streetwear and, of course, workwear. As such, he says, partnering with the original workwear brand is a dream come true, especially since they gave him free rein to develop a collection that's both new for Levi's and cohesive with what he's already release under his own umbrella.
"What we love so much about Reese is how he fuses traditional workwear materials and construction with modern style," Karyn Hillman, Levi’s chief product officer, says. "There’s a natural connection to our workwear lineage with a creative, sustainable and fashion forward twist. This collection takes everything we love about the past and puts it into one beautiful modern package."
The resulting collection comprises 10 pieces made from a near even mix of cottonized hemp, cotton duck canvas and denim: the Levi's x RCI Type II Trucker ($248), Straight Fit Cotton Duck Canvas Pants ($188), Chore Coat ($288), Straight Fit Jeans ($248), Two Pocket Hoodie ($138) and Tee ($68).