Denim Speakeasies?

According to a post on Superfuture by the owner of Selfedge:
-Levi's is suing your two favorite denim stores in America [ed note: that's Blue in Green in NYC and Selfedge in San Francisco - Context doesn't carry any brands that made a Levi's repro, so they're not being sued], along with Studio D'Artisan, Iron Heart, Toyo/Sugarcane, Oni (BS United), and Samurai.

-Everybody is being sued for trademark infringment

-All sales of the above mentioned brands are to be stopped by Friday, January 19, 2007 WORLDWIDE

-US and Japanese Customs are in on this, no jeans made by the above brands are to be sent out of Japan starting two days ago (January 15) to stores OR consumers. you've been warned, don't attempt to order your jeans via a bidding service or have a friend send them to you

-The offending points are as follows: 1. There are to be NO tabs attatched between to pieces of fabric on the rear pockets, 2. The cards hanging out of the back pocket, stapled to the pocket, must not look anything like vintage/modern Levi's Info Cards, 3. Arcuates on the rear pockets must not resemble the Levi's arcuate in ANY way shape or form, 4. Rear leather patch cannot contain an image of two moving objects (horses, motorcylcles, pigs, etc..) pulling apart a pair of jeans

-All product with any of the above mentioned accents must be pulled from the shelves of every store in the world by Friday, January 19

-I've spoken to most of the manufacturers named in the lawsuit in Japan already and they are quickly working on producing jeans with either NO back pocket stitching or stitching that is greatly different than the Levi's Arcuate. We are looking at a four week period where there will be very low stock of denim from these companies

-There are four more companies they're going after, i cannot name those at this time.

-This is one of the most comprehensive and largest lawsuits Levi's has filed against Japanese denim manufacturers

Wow - I'm kicking myself for not buying a pair of the Sugarcane Levi's repros now. The suit is international, so these companies won't even be able to continue manufacturing repros for the Japanese market (which could then be purchased by entrepreneurial superfuture members and sold outside regular retail channels). My Lee ones are awesome (and I read are being discontinued), but this makes me wish I had a pair of Samurais, or Iron Hearts, or SDAs or something real, real bad. The black market on Superfuture is going to explode.

As one commenter noted, "Perhaps Levi's should also take note that there is a market for jeans above $35 dollars."

Update: Maybe I was too quick to say that Context won't be involved. They're the US distributor for Imperial, which wasn't named in the suit, doesn't use the arcuate or tab, and doesn't make Levi's reproductions. They do, however, have a tag that falls under point #4 -

Update: This guy's right too-
honestly, i love the levi's arcuate, red tab, and two horse patch but levi's has not made a pair of jeans with these details that rivals what sugarcane, samurai, or sda is doing. lvc quality has not really impressed me and as a company they have not really provided the "repro" niche market with something they can embrace they way these other companies have. these small companies have basically created and nurtured this market while levi's slept and now they want a piece of the pie. if anything these companies were doing levi's a favor by associating their much higher quality product with them and keeping these details relevant for much longer than they would have been. these companies were referencing levi's out of reverance and respect to levi's (and denim) history, not a desire to ride levi's coattails or to rip them off. i mean why not just license these details to some of these companies? assholes. so will the sales of repro jeans w/ these details continue in japan? i can't see how levi's could trump japanese law but who knows.

I called Selfedge. They're staying open until the stroke of midnight. I was on hold for 15 minutes. I gave them my credit card number. They're sending me a pair of Samurai S510XX 19oz jeans. Get off my back. Seriously. I don't want to hear it.


towwas said...

Wow - that is *really* interesting. Good points about Levi's not taking advantage of that obvious niche themselves (although maybe they're gearing up by it, by pushing everyone out).

OleNelson said...

Heh. I haven't been checking in here as regularly lately (poor form, me). But it's good to see that all is as it should be. Brit-Brit? Still pregnant. J-Bro? Still talking about denim.

Context said...

We at Context have not heard a peep about stopping sales of Imperial, and we were the first store to carry them in the US. We have more coming soon (raw black Dukes and Kings). Keep an eye on the site:

p.s. thanks for the Found book, and thanks for mentioning us on your blog.