The Levi’s® Vintage design team normally works in the office, using our amazing archive resources for reference and inspiration.
All very nice, but when they were invited to travel to Death Valley and explore a silver mine that had lain disused for 130 years, we jumped at the chance. This would be research on another level and a chance to get a feeling for the people for whom our product was originally made.
After a long journey they arrived in the desert in the pitch dark night and caught a few hours sleep in a trail- er, waking to the dazzling light of the morning sun com- ing over the mountains. There was no time to lose before hiking to the mine became impossible in extreme heat. Carrying helmets with flashlights and wearing rigid Levi’s® they climbed over rock and scree until we reached the mineshaft in the mountainside.
Once inside we had to crawl on hands and knees in places until we reached a likely area. Then began the digging and scrabbling and moving of rubble. We found shirt sleeves, canvas bags, an old shoe and a little felt hat, and that was just on the first morning. All the normal detritus of a nineteenth century miner’s life, but to us a humbling experience.
We were used to taking this kind of stuff out of tissue paper while wearing white gloves, and here it was in the rough, where the users had abandoned it. We talk a lot about Levi’s® origins as workwear, but this somehow made us realise what that actually meant. Those min- ers delved in the dark and the dirt in the hopes of treas- ure. They could never have guessed that the worn-out stuff they discarded would be pay dirt for the likes of us.
T: Rocket Magazine via Levi’s
Rocket Magazine Barcelona