Ever wondered about how your trusty pair of DM’s actually came about? In the first part of a new series all about our favourite footwear brand, we delve into the history of Dr Martens.
Who was Dr Marten?
The history of Dr Martens dates back to 1945 in post-War Munich, when an injured soldier, Dr Klaus Martens, created a soft sole for his boots to aid the recovery of his broken foot. Maertens then showed his creation to his friend Dr Herbert Funk (great name) and the two went into business, using discarded military supplies to make their shoes. In 1959 an advertisement for the revolutionary sole was seen by the owner of Griggs’ Footwear in England, a few modifications later, including the addition of the iconic yellow stitching and the ‘Airwair’ boot was born. The team used the date they were created, 1st April 1960, as their namesake and the iconic 1460 boot was born.
"Starting in 1901, the Griggs family were known for making boots in the small town of Wollaston, Northamptonshire in the English Midlands. They were at the very heart of the English shoe industry and for six decades Griggs’ footwear earned a solid reputation as sturdy, durable work boots." -Dr Martens
The brand was popular with people in the workplace for a sturdy, long lasting pair of boots. Then Dr Martens unexpectedly became the brand of choice for working-class subcultures and societal rebels, this was the beginning of their cultural iconic status.
Dr Marten’s in Subculture
The brand grew along with the consistent rise of British subcultures in the 1970 and 80s, from punks to goths, every disaffected youth of the time was wearing them and the trend for customising the laces and painting the boots was born. The trend had also moved across the water at this stage and bands in America were stepping out in DMs, taking the iconic boot worldwide. By the 1990s the grunge trend had kept DMs firmly in the limelight and the brand now became the choice for festival goers.
"Grunge turned the mainstream music world on its head and took Dr. Martens along for the ride. Back in Britain, Britpop rebelled against this so-called ‘loser kid’ apathy but did so in the same boots, the 1460.
The emergence of nu-metal and very early emo saw yet more new music genres adopt the boot. The brand also became synonymous with festival culture." - Dr Martens
Whilst subcultures such as emo, punk, grunge and nu-metal aren't still as prevalent in mainstream culture Doc Martens definitely still are. Whatever style, music or culture you're into, there's no denying that Dr Martens have a place across most cultural scenes as a go-to shoe.
Our Top 6 Dr Marten Influencers
1. Pete Townshed
It was Pete Townshend, lead guitarist of The Who, that first brought the Iconic 1460 to the attention of the public, wearing his as a symbol of solidarity with Britain’s working class.
2. The 70s & 80s: The Specials, Madness
Bands like The Specials and Madness championed the Dr Marten boot in the 1970s and 80s during 2 Tone and Ska revival, again as a nod to their working-class routes.
3. The 90s: Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam
It was bands like Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam that made sure the DM boot stayed a subculture favourite during the 90s.
4. The 10s: Miley Cyrus
Love this video or hate it, you can’t deny it got people talking, in 2013 Miley Cyrus rode naked on a wrecked ball in just her Docs.
5. The Present Day: Babymetal
In more recent years, bands like Babymetal, a 3 piece kawaii metal band, have made the DM boot part of their signature Japanese Gothic and Punk Lolita style.
Rise and Fall of Dr Martens
By the early 2000s, the brand was experiencing a huge downward turn in sales, which resulted in store and factory closures across the UK. The brand launched a new range in 2004 aimed at young people, intended to be easier to break in and more comfortable to wear. In 2007 the original factory was back up and running, producing the hand-made boots, the traditional way.
Thanks to innovative collaborations with Vetements, Supreme and Yohji Yamamoto, the brand has stayed at the forefront of fashion in recent years. With a knack for reinvention and a reputation for quality, no doubt Dr Martens will be around for the next 60 years (your Docs will probably still be in good shape then too.)
Our Favourite Ways To Style Dr Martens
1. Toughen Up A Tea Dress
Pairing a cute, vintage, polka-dot or ditsy floral frock with a pair of DMs is the ultimate pretty but tough outfit to see you through festivals, parties, dates, summer and winter!
2. Laid-Back Luxe
A worn-in pair of Dr Martens boots are the best kind of Sunday shoe, they pair perfectly with your favourite pair of vintage Levi's and your comfiest over-sized sweater. This model-off-duty kind of look will take you from grocery shopping to brunch and to the pub in the comfiest of ways.
3. Desk to dancefloor dressing
Finding the perfect outfit for a Thursday is a different kind of dilemma, how do you find a work-appropriate outfit that will also take you straight through to the bar without having to pack a change of clothes? Simple, a chic knit or long sleeve top, a vintage midi skirt and a pair of DMs - Simple!
Now you know the rich history behind Dr Martens, why not check out our blog and get to know the story behind Nike! You can shop our range of vintage Doctor Martens boots and shoes here.
Words Megan Flanagan-Hunter
This month, Beyond Retro are excited to share the news of our involvement with Converse Renew.
The Converse Renew initiative will see a line of Chuck 70 denim trainers released by Converse, created from recycled and/or upcycled denim provided by us at Beyond Retro. Our contribution to this programme has seen the potential of an innovative concept to change the way we think about, and use, discarded materials.
The trainer will give a new meaning to the nostalgia that comes with vintage denim. As senior director of materials at Converse, Jessica L’abbe, told Fast Company: 'Every denim Chuck is different because each pair of jeans will be worn differently. Each will feel highly personal even at scale, we feel that's a special moment for this program".
Converse Renew Denim in medium.
This initiative marks a huge step forward in the potential that sustainable fashion can hold, marking a significant change in the preconceived notions we hold for used materials. We’re proud to be able to help brands create accessible and environmentally sound alternative to fast-fashion, providing this to the high street customer at such a large scale.
Each year in the UK alone, we buy 70 million pairs of jeans, which has a largely negative environmental and human cost. At Beyond Retro, we source through over 1 million pairs of jeans a month. With Converse, we were able to provide the resources to source denim to the specifications - weaves, weights and colours - required to create the Converse Renew Denim trainer.
Converse Renew Denim in dark.
Our support of Converse through the creation of the Converse Renew Denim Chuck 70, which is the first upcycled collection of its kind to achieve industrial scale, has unveiled both the innovation and the potential of new manufacturing processes. We hope to inspire more brands to create renewed products so that sustainable options become accessible for all.
The Renew Denim will be available in three washes - light, medium and dark - which have been butterfly cut, so the iconic Converse shoe panels remain.
The Converse Renew Denim in all three washes, light, medium and dark.
We talk about fast-fashion a lot; about why we encourage people to shop vintage, secondhand or sustainable alternatives, about what needs to change in the industry to make a lasting impact on the world around us...
We talk about fast-fashion a lot because it is a conversation worth having.
When the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, over 1,129 people were killed and the horrific working conditions of fast-fashion sweatshops came out of the dark; people were confronted with the consequences of their choice to shop fast-fashion, which was proven to be undeniably unethical.
We can not ignore fast-fashion. There are an estimated 40 million people who work in sweatshops across the world, and many of them face unsafe and unethical working conditions. These workers, of which 90% are women, face malnutrition due to low wages, unprotected exposure to toxic chemicals, sexual harassment, discrimination and forced overtime.
At Beyond Retro, we believe that there has to be a better way to produce clothes that fashion can be a force for good and a force for change.
As one of the world’s leading vintage retailers, we're proud to use our platform to lift the voices of brands and designers who are utilising fashion for a positive change.
Carry on reading to discover our hand-picked eco-friendly fashion designers and brands to look out for. And, remember, vintage clothing is inherently sustainable and you can shop our range of products online and in store.
Birdsong are a brand very close to our heart. They are friends of ours, and as a brand they promise no sweatshops and no photoshop, two principles we at Beyond Retro agree with. Their vow to not use photoshop points at a second issue in the fashion industry, being the way in which clothes are marketed towards women, promoting an unattainable standard of beauty.
Their brands mission statement reads: “Wearing our collection of original wardrobe staples is a protest in itself– against the fast nature of the fashion industry, against the obsessive pursuit of trends and against the systematic abuse of women in the production line".
Birdsong then, is certainly a brand that wears their morals on their sleeve. Birdsong make clothes for those who want to make a conscious choice to shop sustainable, and who want to rebel with their clothing.
Know The Origin
Know The Origin is an online brand with a commitment to sustainable practices. All their clothes are made in factories of which their design team have personally visited to ensure only excellent working conditions.
Diversity is also at the forefront of what Know The Orign does, and a scroll through their online store makes this clear. Their clothes are listed on the website featuring a diverse range of models, of all sizes and backgrounds, an unfortunate rarity in fashion.
Project Pico is an underwear brand with a purpose. Underwear is one of the most thrown-away items of clothing, contributing to the never-ending problem of stuff.
It can seem easy to head into a shop on the high street when you need a fresh pair of undies, but knowing that these items are made under less-than-ethical circumstances is hopefully enough to turn you off.
Instead of Primark, opt for Project Pico, who share the story of how their underwear is made, from sewing the cotton seeds to how the finished products make their way to the UK.
They offer an array of styles, from high waist knickers, to the full brief as well as trunks for men.
Matt and Nat
All the bags and accessories from this brand are made from vegan leather, a particular type called PU is used where possible as this is less harmful to the environment than the typical PVC. The linings of their products are made out of 100% recycled plastic bottles!
The brand has a close working relationship with the factories where their products are made, ensuring they qualify for the SA8000 standard certification which requires the fair treatment of garment workers.
ArmedAngels produce sustainable denim. All their jeans are made from sustainable materials, including organic wool, cotton and linen.
Important to note, their packaging is also all sustainable and completely recyclable!
Beaumont Organic is based in Manchester's Northern Quarter, producing self-described ‘contemporary conscious clothing’. They want to create clothing people are proud to be wearing and proud to feel associated with, they want to inspire change and pave the way for fashion to have a more sustainable future.
This brands message is much like our own, which is part of the reason we love them so much.
At the heart of Vildnis’ brand is the ethos to “change the fashion industry without changing your style”, and it follows through with its contemporary, Scandinavian-inspired design. Freedom, fairness, honesty, responsibility and protection of the environment are all part of the brands DNA.
We have been screaming from the roof-top about how the simple actions and the choices we make, such as, making the conscious decision to shop vintage and to shop sustainably can have a huge impact on the future.
Konodo is a brand that firmly believes in this, also. Based in North London, the brand trade fairly with factories in Nepal, China, Indonesia and Turkey which our frequently visited by designers and such. The brand works closely with the team of talented people who bring their ideas to life.
Mayamiko hand pick their textiles from local fabric markets in Malawi. They work with a cooperative of women traders to source the finest prints and they only source enough to produce a very limited number of pieces to ensure minimum waste.
Here Today Here Tomorrow
Here Today Here Tomorrow is a fair trade fashion label that has been committed to social and environmental values from the very start. At the heart of our collections is the consideration of ethical production, beautiful materials and contemporary design.
Words Chardonnay West
As we head into the summer and approach the halfway mark of 2019 it's a good time to look back and celebrate our favourite vintage-inspired looks of the year. Whether your wardrobe looks like it was brought straight from the 60's or you like to experiment with era-themed styling there is something to inspire you all.
1. The Shell Suit Of Your Dreams
Starting strong... our warehouse team showing you how to rock an 80s shell suit. Go hard or go home right?
2. Sassy Seventies
A dreamy, bohemian, vintage inspired look perfect for summer. Grab yourself a patterned mini dress from our huge selection!
3. The Perfect Season Transition Outfit
Leandra Medine is a bonafide style guru and this 70s inspired look has us swoooooning. If you're looking for a way to jazz up your denim why not try a statement jacket.
4. Flares With Friends
The fitting rooms in our Bristol store are perfect for an impromptu catwalk to strut around in your new vintage finds.
5. Sorbet Pink Perfection
We just can't get enough of seventies inspired dressing for summer, another of our favourite looks- so chic and flattering for all.
6. Berlin Street-style Inspiration
Vintage-inspired normcore dressing isn't going anywhere, so get on board!
7. Dad On Holiday But Make It Fashion
Talking of normcore, dad-style, a member of our Brighton store shoes you how to make the trend work for warmer days! Shop our men's city break edit here.
8. Dramatic Glamour
One of our favourite Met Gala looks of this year, Lily Collins pulled out all the stops in this vintage-inspired frilled gown with 60s bouffant and makeup. Definitely one to recreate asap!
9. Rock 'n' Rolla
Coloured vintage jeans styled two ways. A simple but effective way to work your vintage pieces.
10. Suave Seventies
11. Disney Dreaming
We absolutely love this fun 90s style- the Mickey Mouse patch is just the icing on the cake. You can shop our selection of vintage Disney clothing here!
12. Denim Chic
Kendall Jenner rocking both the work-wear and double denim trends all in one go. We love this simple and chic 70s inspired look.
13. Mint Madness
A swingin' 60s look by one of our Dalston store team. Minty perfection! Don't forget you can shop all of our true vintage pieces by decade online!
14. Classic Cowboy
Last but by no means least, Lil Nas X has us all embracing yeehaw culture with his vintage-looking Western outfits. Even if you don't have a cowboy hat from Gucci you can still get some Wrangler on your booty by shopping our branded denim selection here.
Feeling inspired? Head over to our online store to find the freshest selection of vintage pieces hand-picked just for us; or if you want a little bit more style inspiration why not check out our blog where you can see how to wear double denim, how to do monochromatic dressing or read up on what fashion in the 1970s was like.
Words by Eloise Gendry
Ahead of our upcoming event in collaboration with XXY Magazine and Good Girl Gang at our Cheshire Street store we spoke to Nawel from Good Girl Gang to discuss all things DIY, sustainability and feminism.
Good Girl Gang started in 2016 as “a means to create clothing for the underrepresented,” and you can see this reflected in every design the sell. Hand drawn and hand printed using handmade silk screens they create unique designs that celebrate a range of different marginalised people by putting them at the centre of all their beautiful designs… these are no means your average high-street graphic tees with faux-asian writing and cringe-worthy slogans. *eye roll*. Just when you think their t-shirts couldn’t get any better, they’re also printed on organic cotton for a more sustainable approach to fashion. Their website describes the collection as “a love letter to feminism and all things girl power” and we’d have to agree with that.
Tahmina Begum from XXY Magazine models a GGG t-shirt
Where did the idea to start Good Girl Gang come from?
It all started after leaving an unfulfilling art foundation course, looking for a way to not only continue my artistic interests but build something in which me and my cousin could feel represented, hence the birth of our first t shirt, ‘brown girl power’! We hadn’t really come across clothing in the market for women of colour to really resonate with, so decided to create a small collection of tees like ‘melanin blessed’, ‘not your babe’ & ‘not exotic’, which were received with amazing support and love!!!
GGG tees are beautiful and humorous, seeming to represent both the women who make them and those who wear them. Where do you get the inspiration from for your designs?
I find inspiration is present everywhere I look! I usually don’t find it in one specific place, but through music, films or even tense family debates. Conversing with people about a wide range of discussions, can really cultivate ideas for what to put on a t-shirt next. Random things like talking about why brown guys are excused from house work while the girls seem to be the ones cleaning up after everyone with my grandma, usually is inspiration enough!
Do you find screen-printing to be a mindful, calming process for you where you can channel anger or emotions through or is it strictly work?
I 100% find it an extremely therapeutic process. As I am self taught, I do run into majorly infuriating issues that can only be resolved through trial and error which can be a bit debilitating and get me feeling furious but it’s nice to know I can learn from my mistakes and become not only a better screen printer, but work on myself in the process, turning seemingly unresolvable problems into calming solutions.
How do you incorporate mindfulness and self-care into your daily routine?
I tend to resort to music & films when practicing self care. Seeing what people are currently creating can be really inspiring for me and aid me in being motivated with my own work. Also tending to indulge in some alone time, be it going on an evening walk or a trip to the cinema, it’s nice to reserve some time for yourself.
We’re really excited for the event on the 13th, what can we expect from your screen-printing workshop and in what ways do you think it would be a good way for someone to get involved in mindfulness if they haven’t before?
It’s going to be a super fun day and I’m so excited to take part! I’ll be running a little printing station where you can make your own prints to take home and also just learn a lil something new! It’s going to a very calm night, full of lots of love and great people, a wholesome way to end the day!
We love to support boss-ass babes disrupting the industry with new approaches, so we are excited to have Good Girl Gang at our Mindfulness evening on the 13th June. We’ll have screen-printing workshops as well as zine-making and a feminist book swap, for a wholesome evening of self-care, self-love and celebration. If you haven’t already check out XXY Mag and Good Girl Gang on Instagram and be sure to get your tickets to the event here.
Words by Eloise Gendry
Imagine a world without Nike. It seems impossible, right? Nike is undoubtedly one of the most iconic brands, not just in sports, but in the WORLD. From it’s instantly recognisable logo to its iconic adverts, Nike is inimitable (even if some brands do try.) From Vintage Nike sweatshirts to vintage Nike Jackets, with such a rich history to mine for inspiration, here is our Ultimate Guide to Nike.
The History of Nike - 1962
The brand we all know and love as Nike, was originally called Blue Ribbon Sports and started in 1962. With only $1,200 in the bank, track and field coach at the University of Oregon - Bill Bowerman - started the brand which opened its first store in 1966, where they launched the Nike brand shoe in 1972.
After the stellar success of the trainer brand, Blue Ribbon Sports changed its name to Nike in 1978. The brand was named after the Greek goddess of Victory - it’s for this reason that it is pronounced ‘NY-KEE’, not ‘NYK’. (It's NY-KEE, ok? Got it?)
The now iconic swoosh logo was originally designed by a Penn State student as part of a competition, for which she won $35. The student was later given shares in the company after it’s huge success. (Not too shabby). Since its humble beginnings, the company has grown exponentially and continued to dominate in all areas of the industry whilst always being on the forefront of innovation.
When Was The First Nike Trainer Created? - 1972
Much to Bill Bowerman’s wife's’ dismay, the first Nike trainer was developed by pouring rubber into a household waffle iron. The texture was used to create a new kind of trainer sole that hadn’t been seen before. In 1972 the first prototype of the Waffle Racer trainer was developed.
It would go on to be nicknamed the ‘Moon Shoe’ and featured the Nike swoosh. In 1972 a cult classic the Cortez was also released, this was a huge development for the brand and was worn in both the Olympics in Mexico and by Tom Hanks in the iconic movie Forrest Gump. (Run Forrest, Run!)
When Was The Nike Sweatshirt released? - 1980
The original sweatshirt was invented by Benjamin Russell Jr., a football player in 1926. It began with the new idea for an all-cotton practice football jersey. The first Nike clothing came out in the 80s, meaning there are now loads of amazing vintage Nike sweatshirts to be found!
When Was The Nike Blazer Released? - 1973
In 1973 Nike launched a classic silhouette and started their decades long association with basketball, with the Nike Blazer. The ‘Iceman’, NBA player George Gervin, wore them (and looked pretty amazing), and their popularity began to rise and rise.
When Was The First Trainer With Air Pockets Made? - 1978
The first shoe with air pockets in its outer sole is developed and put out to market. This is a revolutionary step in the development of sports shoes.
The Nike Air Force 1 Is Created - 1982
All Nike trainers are iconic, but then there's the Air Force 1. Words cannot describe how big this shoe became, so we won’t try, just take in their beauty;
The simplicity, the versatility, the beauty.
Jumpman, Jumpman, Jumpman, that brand’s up to something - 1984
The first of the most coveted lines of trainers in the world is created. The Air Jordan 1 is designed for Michael Jordan and the infamous Jumpman logo is created. Referenced by everyone from Drake to Jay-Z, Rick Ross and Kanye, Michael Jordan and his Jumpman sneaker is a pivotal cultural reference within the world of hip hop and R’n’B.
This trainer was more than just the start of one of the most lucrative brand endorsements the world has ever seen, but also the centre of a controversy. It ended with Jordan paying a LOT of money to the NBA anytime he wore them on the court as they violated the ‘uniformity’ rule. Even though Jordan hasn’t played basketball professionally since 2003 it is reported he still makes $60m a year in Nike royalties. #Blessed.
The Iconic Air Max Are Born - 1987
Shoes and clothes can be a way to integrate within certain social groups or style tribes, the Air Max, however, transcends all of these groups. They've gone through many different stages of popularity, but are now firmly THE universal fashion trainer.
With brands such as Off-White bringing out their own Nike Air Max 97’s this trainer silhouette is as dynamic as the company it’s made by.
Let’s Do It - 1988
The Nike Slogan Just Do It has a somewhat morbid backstory which might change the way you see their next advert. Serial killer Gary Gilmore was killed by firing squad for his crimes after uttering his last words of ‘let’s do it’. The slogan was inspired by this and now lives on as one of the best pieces of marketing ever seen.
Oregon Opening - 1990
It's strange to think that until 1990 Nike didn’t have any of its own retail stores, but until they opened in downtown Portland this was the case. Nike stores such as ‘Nike Town’ in London’s Oxford Circus are infamous for their tech-led customer experiences and for being on the forefront of shaping consumer mindsets.
Nike Town - 1999
The largest Nike store in the world opens in London. It's still pretty mega.
SB - 2002
Nike decides to get in on the action of the growing market of skateboarding apparel after it’s rise in popularity in the late 90s. (Thanks The Offspring & Blink 182).
Conquering Converse - 2003
Nike buys Converse for a whopping $309 million. The classic Chuck Taylor trainer becomes a huge money maker for Nike and Converse go on to produce massive cultural events such as the One Star Hotel in London to launch the Converse One Star trainer.
Tycoons takeover - 2006
In 2006 Nike partner with Apple to launch Nike+ technology, a new beginning for technical sports developments.
Back To The Future - 2015
Nike developed a limited range of shoes inspired by the self-lacing boots in the 1989 film Back To The Future Part 2. They were auctioned off for charity.
Nothing Beats a LNDNR - 2018
In one of the most viral videos of the year, Nike creates an iconic piece of culture featuring some of the biggest names in sports, music, and TV. With music produced by Tone P and Mark Ronson, the 3-minute video features a range of British icons such as Skepta, Giggs, Jorja Smith, Michael Dappah, Harry Kane, Gareth Southgate and Mo Farrah.
The star-studded cast pokes fun at London stereotypes and in-jokes, “Peckham? What’s Wrong with Peckham?” in an uplifting piece sound-tracked by some of the biggest London grime artists.
Worn the world over, Nike is a juggernaut in the streetwear and sports apparel game. Famous for their celebrity collaborations and endorsements, throughout the years the brand has perfectly captured zeitgeists by casting some of the biggest names in pop culture as faces for their campaigns.
Serena Williams was at the centre of some controversy for her Nike all-in-one. She went on to be featured in Nike's latest 'Dream Crazier' advert.
Bella Hadid in Nike
Colin Kapernick was shunned by many football fans after he took a knee during the national anthem to protest racism and police brutality in the states.
Hailey Baldwin in her Adidas collaboration collection
Michael Jordan and Spike Lee for Nike in 1988
Not Just The Trainers
Of course the iconic shoe silhouettes will always be Nike's biggest export, however, they are also known for their sports clothing. Vintage Nike pieces make excellent wardrobe staples to see you through every season. A versatile vintage Nike jacket is one piece that you shouldn't be without. Take a look at some of our favourite styling inspiration:
Words By Eloise Gendry
As it gets warmer, and we all start to panic about whether it’s too cold to go bare-legged, or too warm to wear your favourite vintage jumper that you’ve been wrapped up in all winter, there’s one piece that will always be our go to; a vintage Levi denim jacket.
The perfect throw-on piece that really does go with everything, it’s one of our summer wardrobe heroes. We’d never want you looking anything but you’re best and feeling like so here is our pick of the best Levi denim jackets and how to wear them.
Vintage Levi Denim Jackets Looks For Her
How to wear denim jackets to work
What to wear to work in the summer is always stressful, but take it easy and create a foolproof look that you can wear any day of the week. A floral midi + a tee + a denim jacket = your new go-to office outfit. Keep it casual with some Vintage Converse or take the look up a notch with some pumps, either way, it’s an easy look that requires little effort for big impact.
How to wear a denim jacket to a festival
Stay cool in the sunshine by throwing a sleeveless denim jacket over your fave Vintage Band T-Shirts and a pair of raw-hem shorts or your favourite mini skirt. This look works whether you pair it with your favourite vintage Vintage Doc Martens or if you go all out with a pair of wellies.
Dance all day and night in the ultimate festival look. Bonus points if you customise your jacket with patches and badges. Don’t forget some big earrings and a pair of statement sunglasses for a killer sunset look.
How to wear a denim jacket on a date
There’s nothing like a summer romance; fall head over heels for your vintage Levi’s denim jacket and create the perfect date look. Simple, elegant and SO cute this look never fails. Check out our selection of slip dresses and add your favourite oversized denim jacket, voila you’re ready to bag yourself a boyfriend…. Or girlfriend… Or FWB… or whatever it is you’re after.
Vintage Levi Denim Jackets Looks For Him
How to wear a denim jacket with denim jeans
A legend, an icon, of course, we’re talking about double denim. The summer is the perfect time to play around with new looks and go all out with your outfits, so embrace the double denim revolution by matching the washes of your jeans to your jacket and styling it out with a pair of trainers and your favourite graphic tee.
How to wear a denim jacket for BBQ
There's nothing like having a few beers, soaking up the sun and eating totally burnt food from the bbq. Whilst the food might not be on point your outfit can still be. Pair some casual chinos with a vintage denim jacket in a muted tone with chunky trainers to channel your inner Yeezy and rock the dadcore trend. Bonus points by adding the ultimate normcore accessory- some Kappa tube socks.
How to wear a denim jacket to the pub garden
Don’t throw out your skinny jeans just yet, keep it casual in black denim for a lazy summer Sunday outfit. Converse or Vans are a must for this look as are some wayfarer-style sunnies. Cut up your favourite band tee and turn it into a tank for a grungy laid-back look.
Shop our selection of vintage Levi's denim jackets here and if you're after some more style inspo for summer check out our guide to Hawaiian shirts.
Words by Eloise Gendry
We had those few dreamy days of hot weather this month and now all we’re longing for is Summer. Give us long evenings, drives to the coast with the windows down and day-long drinking sessions where we convince ourselves we’re Lana Del Rey in a music video (more like Brian May, thanks to humidity).
It’s no secret that the 70s are back in a big way and we have to say, for us they never went away. This was the decade of floaty fabrics and suede-fringed silhouettes, ringer tees and flared jeans, hot summer days….mid July...oh sorry Lana popped back out again.
Anyway, the point is this era gave us some of the best and longest surviving style staples and here at Beyond Retro we have recreated and reworked some of those styles in the only way we know how: sustainably and authentically.
A personal favourite of ours from the 70s, the iconic flared jeans, a staple item in anyone's wardrobe and totally perfect for striding down the street like a Bee Gee, we stan.
Roll neck Jumpers
Where would we be without the humble roll neck knit? Year to year and season to season, it’s another favourite of ours and the perfect nod to that seventies style.
Suede is a timeless staple and adds that 70s touch to any look, shop our huge collection of reworked suede here.
Add a little bit of the 70s to your silhouette with an A-line mini skirt, a piece that will last you from season to season.
The 1970s and denim go hand in hand together like Jimmy Hendrix and a guitar, or Bianca Jagger and a white horse at Studio 54. From flares and double denim to skirts long and short the decade shifted denim from a Counterculture statement to a fast fashion must have. We take a look at some of our favourite 1970s denim fashion moments to help you get the perfect look online and in store.
Flares in any shape and form are synonymous with the 70s, starting life off as Naval bell-bottoms bought by the youth as a distinctive sign of a Counterculture lifestyle. The demand for these recycled Navy uniform trousers outweighed supply and those who wanted the look started to get creative by cutting open the side seams of straight legged jeans and adding extra panels of contrasting fabric.
Manufactures and stores quickly caught on to the DIY flared jeans, and it wasn’t long before a flared jean could be seen in every High Street window. From Farrah Fawcett to the teenagers on the street, flared jeans were the staple of 1970s denim fashion.
The Wrangler Jacket
Denim jackets can be attached to many eras but for the 70s must have it was the Wrangler Blue Bell 11MJ. Made famous by John Lennon it is near impossible to find a photo of Lennon in the 70s without his favourite piece of Wrangler denim.
The Denim Skirt
The denim skirt was born in the 70s as a way to recycle damaged denim in the awakening of the environmentally conscious consumer. They came in all lengths from a take on the 60s mini to the longer bohemian cut with raw hems, centre front o-ring zips and the humble patchwork.
Originally the staple of Cowboys and Miners of Gold Rush California, double denim much like the flare became a popular 70s trend. One of the many advocates of the double denim look was Sonny and Cher. Sonny, in fact, was the first man on television to ever wear denim. Denim came to symbolise a fresh all – American sexuality so the more denim, the better!
With so many 70s pieces in store and online, it is so easy to recreate your own 1970s denim fashion moment or mix and match with your own style. Perhaps try your own bit of DIY on the unloved denim in the back of your wardrobe to create that patchwork look. If we can recommend one thing though is to try double denim, it may change your life!
Words Hugo Harris
Now we all know that the Cheese Burger was invented at the 1904 St Louis World Fair and Donuts were introduced by the Dutch settlers of New York, duuuhhh, but have you ever looked at your trusty canvas cons and queried “WHERE ARE YOU FROM, HOW DID YOU GET HERE?”
But we just got our mitts on a whole bunch, so I’m about to drop some serious Chuck knowledge with a brief history of Converse.
In the Beginning
Believe it or not, Converse All-stars were not invented for maximum traction on booze-soaked indie/nu rave dance floors of the early to mid-2000s. Nor were they invented to help assist the anarchy uprising of the mid-70s. The first incarnation was actually invented over 100 years ago in 1917, for the newly emerging American sport of basketball. The flat-footed, zero shock absorbent first Converse shoe was actually made for physical activity. Mental.
Original Converse ‘Non-Skid”, note no Chuck signature
Surprisingly, the All-Star was quite technologically advanced for its time. The rubber ‘ non-skid’ sole and the lightweight Canvas was the tits in 1917 and by 1918 they were making 20,000 shoes a day! It wasn’t till 1921 that a man named Chuck Taylor changed Converse forever.
Chuck Taylor, a semi-pro basketball player, started wearing the first Converse shoes in 1920. Converse noted this and gave him a job as a salesman and brand ambassador and toured America with his Converse team showing off their kicks. During these tours, Chuck suggested some design tweaks to Converse to help improve the flexibility and ankle support of the ‘Non-skids’. Converse adopted his ideas and in 1932 slapped his signature on the ankle patch and the Converse All Star we know today was born!
Chuck Taylor, great posture, greater shoe designer.
The Sports Sneaker
Converse All Stars quickly became America’s preferred basketball sneaker. It was the official shoe of the Olympics from 1936 to 1968 and during WWII All stars were the official athletic training shoes of the U.S armed forces.
Post World War II the Chuck Taylor All Stars became sporting standard for all basketballers, from Highschool gyms to the Pro NBA and ABA leagues, everyone was wearing Chucks on the hardcourt. It was so popular that in the 1960s Converse had captured 70-80% of the basketball market share, to put that in perspective industry leader Nike has about 40% of the basketball share today.
Trends and technology changed but Converse All Stars remained the same, and the inability to adapt to the sports market meant that the Chucks slowly faded out of the realm of the athletic sneaker world. The classic canvas All Star was last seen on the NBA court worn by Tree Rollins in the ‘79-80 NBA season, 63 years after the Chuck Taylor All Stars was born.
Tree Rollins, wearing canvas All Stars
Off the Court
Fortunately for Converse, another movement was shaking during Converse’s basketball boom. Back in the 50s, wearing athletic sneakers outside of the gym was seen as a slightly rebellious act, similar to Marlon Brando wearing underwear (a T-shirt) and blue jeans on the silver screen. Greasers started to slowly adopt Chucks and wore it as a subtle fuck you to the tie wearing, straight-laced “Man”. Converse’s low price point also helped, due to the no-frills canvas and rubber construction, it was affordable to the working-class and teens.
Rock n Roll
This counterculture association stuck and started gaining more traction throughout the decades. Slowly, Converse All Stars became apart of the uniform of nonconforming Youth. By the mid-70s, the counterculture explosion of punk reared it’s scraggy face and wrapped around its feet was our mate Chuck- The first commercially successful basketball sneaker, one of the first mass-produced sneaker, had become a punk footwear staple- OH THE IRONY. What also may have helped that the two largest punk bands on either side of the pond, The Ramones and The Sex Pistols, were also donning them and that they also looked mint in a pair of drainpipe jeans.
Ever since Converse, All Stars have become synonymous with music and individualism.
Hair metal, Gangsta Rap, Grunge, Post Punk, Indie and New Rave; the music trends changed but the shoes remained the same.
Converse on the Catwalk
These subconscious advertisements from industry leading musicians and artists helped Converse gain a certified ‘classic’ and ‘cool’ rep and with Converse’s current and past collaborations with brands such as Off White, Comme des Garcons, Carhartt, J W Anderson and Dover Street Market, the classic Converse All Star will continue to remain relevant for another 100 years.
Icons and artists who braved the bleeding heel blisters of Converse All Stars include: Eddie Vedder, Farrah Fawcett, Elvis, David Bowie, Robert Plant, Blur, James Hatfield, The Strokes (and every Indie band of the 2000s), Drake, Wiz Khalifa, Hunter S Thompson, Jane Birkin, Pharrell etc etc.
Rapper Ice Cube
Robert Plant and his lemon rocking the reds.
Teenage Heartthrob turned Dad bod spokesman, Leo in Basketball Diaries
Gonzo Journalist Pioneer, Hunter S. Thompson in the white ‘Oxford’ All stars
Elvis, not Costello, wearing Converse on set
1970s style icon Jane Birkin
Words Damien Watt
How can you tell your Levis from you Samurai? Why have some Levis got big ‘E’s’ and small ‘e’s?’ Why do some have just the trademark logo and why are some orange? We’re going to take you through a simple guide on what tab colours means what, and how to differentiate even the smallest of differences on Levi’s tabs.
What's with the Red Tab on Levis?
When Levis patent expired in 1890, competitors such as Stronghold, Boss of the Road, Can't Bust ‘Em started manufacturing riveted denim jeans. From a distance the pocket stitching looked similar, they had a patch on the waistband and of course, they were all blue. Frustrated, the national sales manager of Levi’s, Chris Lucier, came up with the idea of a little red tag on the back pocket. With Levi’s sewn in white so whether you were at a rodeo or a movie, you could see immediately who was wearing Levi’s.
The little red label was patented in 1936 and today the tab is one of the most iconic parts of a pair of Levi’s jeans. Today the simple tab has become a part of roofless trade wars with copies of the red tab popping up all over the world, with Canes, Geisha and Samurai jeans to name a few copying the tab. It's so intense that Levi’s hire undercover detectives all over the world to catch the sellers of the counterfeit jeans and to cut the red tags off one by one!
Levi’s Big E.
Levi’s created the ‘Capital E’ tab ran from 1936 when the tab was first introduced as previously mentioned by Chris Lucier and ran until 1971. After 1971 Levi’s changed the tab letters in small ones, Levi’s instead of LEVI’S. For the real denim collectors, it’s a true treasure when you find an original Levi’s Big E item. In the Big E area there were some more different tab colours on the back pocket besides the famous red one; orange, white and black. Levi's Orange Tab was for fashion jeans, White Tab was generally for Levi’s For Gals (except it was also for corduroy). The Black Tab with gold lettering meant the pants had undergone the STA-PREST process (non-iron).
Levi’s Small e.
In 1971 Levis had changed its tab to red Levi’s rather than LEVI’S. However, the only letter to change visibly was the ‘e.’ This has become a mark amongst collectors to differentiate a collectors big E to a more mass produced small e, the latter still in production today.
The Red Tab with the Trademark
You might come across a pair of Levis with just the trademark and write them off as a fake, however, they are intentionally designed with the almost blank tab. Since the tab is copied the world over, it requires extra-legal force from Levi’s and their right to market clothes with the tab. They, therefore, have to produce a certain percentage of Levi’s products with a plain Tab and just the trademark symbol. This shows that Levi’s owns trademark rights in the Tab itself, not just Levi’s wording.
The Orange Tab
Everyone has a favourite and this one is mine! In the 1960s Levis wanted to differentiate other kinds of Levi’s from the standard 501s. It was the birth of their ‘fashion denim’ - Shirts, jeans hats, flares and boot cuts. The design team of Levi's Orange Tab, got to be more experimental, changing the silhouettes and stepping out of the stringent requirements put behind red tab clothing. Early Orange Tabs do not have care labels inside as that wasn't enforced by US law until 1971, so be on the lookout for the care labels as that will make the difference between the 60s and a 1970s and newer Levi's Orange Tab.
Levi’s white tab is more specifically known for corduroy jeans and jackets, but if you’re lucky ladies, the Levi’s for Gals collection also had a white tab, which ran in the 1960s and 70s.
The 1960s sta-prest, the black Tab with gold lettering for products treated in the new Sta-Prest process — which guarded against wrinkles.
In 1988 the Silver Tab was introduced, from baggy jeans to street inspired denim, the Silver Tab defined the late-80s and 90s grunge denim.
Levi’s Signature Range
This often gets overlooked by vintage Levi buyers who often think they are buying a regular pair of Levis. Noticeably the ‘Signature’ jeans have no tab.
The Levi’s ‘Signature’ range is still in production today and started in the early 2000s as a cheaper diffusion line. It is sold in Walmart, Kmart and Amazon, so don't expect the same quality as one that bears a tab on the back.
Want to know more? Find out the History of Levi's Jeans and stay tuned for more!
Words Hugo Harris
How many pairs of jeans have you seen today? On the street, at work, or when you went to grab something to eat? It’s impossible to say. There are said to be the equivalent of 7 pairs of jeans per person in the world and the US produces up to 450 million of them alone every year. But when were the humble jeans born? Like all good spaghetti westerns, at the end of a dusty road that stretched between San Francisco and the Arizona border. Here is a brief history of the Levi's brand!
When was Levis Created?
The year is 1873. For the past 20 years the Levi Strauss company, founded by a German Jewish immigrant had been supplying the general stores of the West, where cowboys got their supplies. Levi’s Strauss was a wholesaler and sold everything from shovels, picks, lanterns, pots and pans, shoes, long johns, shirts and dungarees.
The dungarees were usually made out of blue canvas, denim. Strauss thought he would spend his life being a dry goods wholesalers until one day in 1872 Strauss received a letter from one of his clients, Mr Jacob Davis;
Dear Mr Strauss,
Today one of my female clients came in today to my shop complaining the area around the pockets on your dungarees are not sturdy enough. Dungarees that my client's husband keeps his gold digging tools in. At that precise moment I was attaching leather straps on a horse blanket using brass rivets and it gave me an idea......
Jacob Davis wanted to patent using brass rivets on canvas workwear but needed a business partner and in May 1873 together with Strauss, they got that patent.
With the pockets in canvas trousers now secure, the jean was born, or as they were known then, the XX. (extra, extra strong.) This was significantly important. Men who bought jeans were labourers and workmen who needed their clothes to last longer. It saved them money and it protected them.
Strauss then had another idea. Above the back pocket, they would sew a leather patch that all could see with a drawing of two horses trying to pull apart a pair of jeans. It was an innovative concept. Levi’s clients at the time were cowboys, farmers, and workers who were mostly illiterate so when they went to buy a pair of jeans all they had to do was ask for the pair with two horses.
The history of the ‘Nevada’ jeans
A lesser known part of the Levis history is the ‘Nevada’ jean. One of the earliest designs from Straus and Davis, (Levis Strauss & Co) this jean was nicknamed the ‘Nevada’ after a pair was discovered at the bottom of a mineshaft in 1998, dating from 1879.
In 2001 the ‘Nevada’ was put up for sale on eBay. Bidding was fierce and a rumour of one of the people trying to buy the jeans off eBay was Ralph Lauren. Levi’s wanted them for their archive and they won with the winning bid of $46,532 dollars. In 1879 the same pair were sold at 99 cents, they looked like any early Levi jean, waistband, crotch rivet, a cinch and suspender buttons.
The ‘Nevada’ also included a unique knife pocket on the rear outer of the left leg. As these jeans were created before the invention of the double stitch sewing machine, the distinctive arcuate (bow-shaped) stitching on the pockets will have been stitched twice using a hand-mechanised, single stitch machine, giving it a unique character.
In 2001 after the winning bid, Levis celebrated its return with a reproduction of the ‘Nevada,’ complete with the shopping and distressing of the original. With only the 501 created they have become a collector's item almost as much as the original.
These are the oldest pair of jeans in existence, If you look at them from the front they look like the perfectly fashioned jeans. No one would know that they are 139 years old. Yet if you were to wear general men’s clothing from 1879 people would say, where is the costume party?
What about the History of Black Levis Jeans?
When looking at the history of Levi’s jeans it's roots are buried deep in the realms of Indigo dye and the classic blue jean, however, it was Levi's that created the black jeans that are now present-day rivals to blue jeans.
In 1956 Elvis Presley Starred in the film, Jailhouse Rock. Featured in the movie was an experiment from Levis - black denim. Originally named, Levis 'Elvis Presley' jeans, they were aimed at the youth market. Ironically Elvis actually disliked jeans but this moment in Cinema holds huge significance in fashion and culture.
Firstly the birth of the black jean which has become a style icon in its own right. Secondly, Levis association with Elvis Presley and their endorsement with Jailhouse Rock made a significant contribution to jeans becoming a must-have item for the youth of the 1950s, helping Levis to compete against Lee who had the endorsement of James Dean who wore Lee 101s in Rebel without a cause.
What is the small pocket on the front of Levi's for?
The small pocket on the front of Levi’s can often be questioned for its functionality and purpose. Originally it was designed for cowboys and lumberjacks who kept their pocket watches in them. Then it came to the place to slip matches and lighters in. Today it is often defunct, the home of loose change or condoms. The pocket of safe sex! What do you keep in yours?