Levi’s Jeans has been a long standing institution in American clothing. Making jeans since 1874, named after its originator, Levi Strauss. Since then Levi’s has been the number one name associated with denim and jeans. Although Levi’s is still headquartered in San Francisco, California, like most jeans manufacturers, greater than 99% of their jeans are imported. If you want to read more about the history of jeans, see my blog entry: Jeans – American born, but American made? Part I.
Does Levis make Jeans made in the USA?
That is the question – does Levi’s make jeans in the USA? And if so, where can you find them? The problem with finding ‘Made in USA’ Levi’s jeans is that the amount they are producing is a moving target. For several years, all Levi’s were made outside of the country, then Levi’s brought back a limited amount of manufacturing to the United States in 2011 and 2012 with some 505’s, 511’s and, even, some 501’s. I actually purchased a pair of Made in USA 505’s jeans (for $180) at their flagship store in San Francisco in 2012. However, in 2013, there were no longer any “Made in USA” Levi’s jeans being made. That is because they were “re-branding”. The re-branding means that Levi’s can charge a premium (higher) price, even if they are not made in the USA.
Made and Crafted
The new Made and Crafted Line is Levi’s new premium line. The fabrics are woven either in the United States, Japan or Italy. The hand waxed leathers come from Italy. The construction is supposedly better even when it is imported. And the details, like buttons, are made of compressed cotton, bone or wood. And, of course, each pocket has the arcuate stitching that gives it that Levi’s trademark.
But, very few of the new Made and Crafted Levis jeans are made in the USA. But, it doesn’t mean they do not make any. They presently have three models of jeans made in the USA: Tack Slim Jeans (less), Ruler Straight Jeans (sweet blue) and Cutter Relaxed (added up).
Of the other clothing, like the shirts and accessories – none appeared to be made in the USA, however, there was one varsity jacket made in Italy that I thought was quite nice. The other Made and Crafted line can be made in Portugal, Turkey, but also in China. There was an imported plain white T-shirt, selling for $69. So, it is not just “made in USA” that is expensive.
Where to Buy
The above jeans pictured can be purchased on the Levi’s website (listed above). Some of these “Made in USA” Levi’s jeans may be found at some of the larger flagship stores. Do not expect to find them at the smaller chain stores or especially at the Levi’s outlets. Actually, I did find one pair of Made in USA Levi’s jeans at a Nieman Marcus Last Call – I am sure that was just plain luck.
There is also a special editions of Levi’s found at Nordstroms (see the website link). The special edition is called Levi’s Vintage Clothing Line. These are reproductions of previous Levi products like the ones pictured below. The Indigo colored Denim jeans and jackets are usually made in the USA. The shorts, shirts, colored jeans are usually imported. Since the website of Levi’s Vintage Clothing Line is not very good at telling consumers where their garments are manufactured, I am listing the website of one of my favorite Independent clothing stores, Union Goods in San Francisco, that happens to carry the Levi’s Vintage Clothing Line and does give information as to whether they are “Made in the USA”. If they are made in the USA, it will say so, if it isn’t, it is not listed. Thank to Chris for pointing out the Vintage Line.
So, as of April 14, 2014, Levi’s does make some “Made in USA” jeans. But, they are a very limited amount made and they may be hard to come by. Happy Hunting. Remember that Levi’s is not the only maker of “Made in USA”, there are over 80 brands of jeans made in the USA that are found in brick and mortar stores, see “Listing of American Clothing Brands – Retail” and “Listing of Brands of Clothing Made in the USA via Internet” which lists another 41 brands.