A couple of weeks ago saw Levi’s release its spring Commuter line at a launch party in East London cycle shop/café Look Mum, No Hands! The choice of location was a reasoned one, the new collection being aimed squarely at the urban cyclist market with the buzz-phrase being: “Ride, live, and work in one pair of jeans.”
Being a regular-ish cyclist myself, news of this new line was intriguing and welcome: Levi’s clothes are cool. Everyone knows this. They make fairly average-looking people like yours truly marginally more appealing to the opposite sex. The key to whether the whole idea worked for its intended market, thus likely to be picked up by the casual or not-so-casual cyclist (I am in the former), was whether it delivered on its raison d’etre and provided something new and useful to go along with the style, which is sound.
My pair are a light blue 511 Commuer skinny fit, but they are also available dark blue, black, red, pastel green and cougar ( let's just call the latter chino-y). To anyone not an Levi’s aficionado the only things that stood them apart from a normal pair of Levi’s skinnies is the Scotchlite reflective strip on the inside of the jeans, and the presence of a utility belt on the top designed to hang your lock in. The strip runs all the way inside the trousers, so when you turn them up there’s two silver strips twinkling away. Stylistically these are obviously the biggest nod to the cyclists, though thankfully you can also fold the trousers down so were one to find oneself in an environment where one didn’t wish to have reflective strips on their trousers, this could happen and night-time naughtiness be instantly achieved.
Of course, no-one would ever want to go out for the night in trousers that they’ve been cycling halfway across town in April rains in, which is why they’ve been fitted out with Nanosphere material, which apparently allows water to run off the trousers. At the time of writing, incredibly, neither time I’ve gone out in them has there been any rain with which to test the technology, though I can attest after spending two minutes in the shower (admittedly feeling like a massive plonker) there was a little dampness that came through, though that only happened in the last 30 seconds where I moved the shower head 2 inches from my thigh.
The Nanosphere technology also extends to making dirt and oil easy to wipe off- ketchup was easily removed, though I have to confess didn’t have the balls to try oil (they cost 80 odd quid for fuck’s sake, I’m not going to deliberately get it on them). Of course, all this Nanosphere stuff does mean the trousers feel different to your normal pair of Levi’s; they’re stretchy and more pliable, which is pretty good considering they will spend half their life with their arse being pulled forward. There’s also something called Sanitized Brand Technology in the mix, which is designed to stop the clothes smelling of sweat.
If you really want to go for the full Levi’s model affect they have releases shirts and Trucker jackets in the Commuter Line as well. These are made out of the same stuff as the trousers, and also have some sneaky hidden pockets which could hide a wrap as easy as they could an mp3. The Trucker jackets are beautiful, dark blue, solid shoulders and stinking of Altamont (minus the nasty bits). They do look like something Noel Gallagher would wear but he wrote Live Forever so let’s see it as a positive eh?
The stuff isn’t cheap, but then Levi’s aren’t and they aren’t anymore expensive than an equivalent in a non-Commuter range. The jeans R.R.P at £78, the jacket at about £125. Whether or not these items are really a saviour for the style-concious rider is debatable, but if you are the sort of person that likes Levis and likes bikes, then there’s not a lot of reasons not to like Commuter.
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