Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Spotting fake Levi's Jeans?

A lot of people are having hard time to differentiate between the authentic and the fakes. It's really hard to distinguish but by all means not impossible. If you want to be a collector or an authentic wearer of any jeans regardless of Levi's, spotting the fake is a key for survival.

Levi's jeans have been replicated over and over again, especially in countries such as Thailand and also China. This are the places where thousands not to mention maybe millions of counterfeit products are manufactured. This is of course not a good sign. Faking brands, with their low quality denim, poor sewing and cutting, seasons all in the wrong places, this is indeed a plague for the authentic consumers.

This is due to the fact that not much people are actually clarifying on how to spot the fake. Spotting the fake needs experience of course. If you're new to the denim world, then of course you need to firstly experience how it is to wear a fake.
Figure 1: Details of authenticity is important.
I did experienced it first hand, a fake would and will look the same as the original in the eyes of an inexperienced buyer. Well buying it, I was happy that I could get a pair of Levi's Strauss copper jeans at the time, but sadly after a few months the colour faded too unnaturally and the denim got so uncomfortable that I ditched that "fake" pair.

So slowly from there on I learned how to get the best pair of Levi's jeans. These are a few tips on how to spot the fabulous "fake" and buy the original Levi's jeans which you will enjoy for a really long time. My oldest pair is from 1993 and it is an original pair of selvedge repros.

So, the first issue I would like to stress on is the care tag. All Levi's care tags must have a unique number signifying where it is made written on it and also must tally on the jean's waist buttons. If the number between the tags and the button doesn't match, most likely it is a fake. It's safer and closer to authentic if the jeans has numbers stamped on it's button. In figure 1, J09 is the factory code which is also present on the buttton punch, on the bottom part, it states that the jeans are made in Japan and made in July 1997.
Figure 2: Care tag of a Levi's 702BEXX.
Next would be the rivets which states LS&Co, the rivets should be copper and shouldn't rust. Some fakes even have LS&Co on the rivets these days so it is a bit hard to distinguish. Still, should pay outmost attention on the details of the rivets. Even the position offset of the rivets on the jeans might state that the Levi's jeans you own is a fake.
Figure 3: Levi's jeans rivets are made of copper and some aluminium.
Levi's buttons are unique and can vary from jeans to jeans, the fakes might look more cheaper as in coated and less attractive. On the figure below, I have displayed the button of my Lot 510 Red Loop jeans button which is originally a bit rusty due to the vintage design of the jeans.
Figure 4: The vintage style top button of my Levi's RL 510.
 The top button should also have a stamp on it's back which match the care tag as I have mentioned earlier. This signifies that the jeans are authentic and are manufactured from that certain Levi's factory. Most authentic and rare Levi's jeans must have the button stamp in order to identify its origin.
Figure 5: The top button of the Levi's 702XX Big EE states J09.
The quality of the denim must also potray the authenticity of the pair of jeans. If the quality of the seasons applied on the jeans as well as lacking in styling and stitching quality then most likely the pair of Levi's jeans that you own is a fake. An authentic pair of Levi's jeans is produced in a strict quality control environment.
Figure 6: Denim of an authentic Levi's 701XX Big E.
The zippers might also show you if the pair of jeans that you own is a fake or is modified due to a broken zipper. The zipper that is authentic must have a levi's stamp or "TALON" which shows that the jeans is a vintage repro or original. Levi's zippers should not have symbols otherwise.
Figure 7: The vintage style zipper of my Levi's RL 510.
These are among the few tips which I can share about determining the authenticity of a pair of Levi's jeans. In order to obtain the best quality of the authentic jeans, it is important to observe, feel and if possible taste those pair of denim before buying it. Happy collecting and styling for all denim lovers out there. Stay true.


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