Exclusive First Look: Levi’s For Filson

— Thu, 12th August 2010 —

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Call it a match made in workwear heaven. Call it the American heritage Dream Team. When word got out about the Levi’s Workwear by Filson collection, we knew we had to see it firsthand. With over 250 years of history between them, these two brands are synonymous with staying power. In a cost-to-quality comparison, their products rival any in production, today. This week, the collection went on sale in stores and online. From the comfort of Beggar HQ, we’ve had several days to familiarize ourselves with the pieces. Where, we wanted to know, could this collaboration go wrong?

Filson considers oil tin cloth its most durable fabric. (It acquired the name years ago when tin translated to toughness.) Off the rack, though, the material is really soft to the touch. The jacket’s moleskin collar and cuffs obviously adds to the effect. We only had a few days with the trucker, but a source said it quickly takes on a beautiful patina, and the shape of its owner — something to look forward to, but we actually appreciated its boxy stiffness. By Filson’s standards, this jacket’s ‘fitted,’ yet tailor-made for sweater combos come late fall and early winter. The one issue with the trucker is versatility. The right denim jacket can easily accompany you from the backyard to dinner at Babbo. The trucker’s range is more limited.

Constructed of heavy twill and denim, with fully-taped tin-cloth seams, the word ‘tote’ doesn’t do this bag justice. Its four exterior pockets are lined, too, while one is fitted with a brass clasp to secure keys and things. Filson’s signature bridle-leather straps, meanwhile, are reinforced to guarantee the brand’s 100-year warrantee. The twill/denim mix adds a sophisticated — yet hardly precious — touch. We christen this bag the official carryall of intelligent men everywhere.

Heavyweight denim. Check. Canvas lining. Check. Reinforced seams, bridle-leather straps and brass hardware. Three times, check. Add a sufficient style quotient, and there’s no reason not to love this bag. Fitting it into your wardrobe could be a challenge, however. It’s too casual for suits, and wearing it with jeans is denim overkill. Still a great bag, but only for casual khaki days.

With its heavy denim, quilted lining, and concealed wool/flannel earflaps, this cap’s hard to look at in the dead of August. December through February, however, it’ll be a nice alternative to knits. There is the issue of going overboard with the whole urban woodsman thing, but, again, quality is quality.

Levi’s – 750 Lexington Ave between 59th & 60th – 212-826-5957 – Map
Levi’s – 1501 Broadway between 43rd & 44th – 212-944-8555 – Map
Levi’s – 25 W 14th St between 5th & 6th – 212-242-2128 – Map
Levi’s – 536 Broadway between Spring & Prince – 646-613-1847 – Map

  1. Well, we hate to turn a review into a hand j*b, but we have to give the collection near top honors. 3.5 stars (out of 4). The only issue is versatility. The perfect jean jacket and your average canvas Filson bag can (just about) go anywhere. As we said, the range of these products is more limited, which slightly reduces their overall value proposition. That said, still very smart long-term investments.

  2. so here’s my problem. Made in the USA only counts if ALL of the garment is made here. Having the majority of a product made elsewhere, shipping it thousands of miles and then assembling it in the USA does not mean it was made here and should not then make it OK to mark it up to Made is USA prices. Anyone can sew or glue some patterns together. It just like buying a suit that says made in Italy, but the fabric was woven in Vietnam, the buttons made in Romania and then it was simply fused (glued) together in a factory in Southern Italy manned by Chinese tailors.

    I think the collaboration is fantastic, the branding brilliant but if they actually cared about the American worker then they should go to an American mill, say Burlington and have the materials made.

  3. Saw the trucker jacket and tote at my local Levi’s store last Friday. Dig the trucker jacket, though agree about the versatility. Me and the wife didn’t like the tote. The two fabrics just look awkward. Prefer the classic twill tote.

  4. my favorite and unexpectely comfortable pair of jeans has a tag that says DENIM, made in Vietnam. They have
    to be the lightest of the light weight and fits my none existing butt beautifully. I feel good in them!

    kathy ayers

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