Levi’s Denim Jackets & History

After more than a year of work, Chi Wan, better known on Instagram as @denim_seeker, is launching by the end of this month his final edition of his ebook: ‘Levi’s Denim Jackets & History’. With 462 pages, highlighting more than 50 jackets from 1870s to 1980s there’s an overwhelming information about the subtle differences between the classic Levi’s jackets; Type 1, Type 2 and Type 3.

The ebook highlights also a few my Levi’s jackets that are part of my private archive. To celebrate this new edition I spoke with Chi Wan about this must have ebook as it’s such a crazy overview, and to talk how and why he dedicated last year on this specific topic.

In the interview you can also see already some sneak pages. So, read the full interview here below, and see how you can get your digital copy of this master piece.

chi wan denimseeker


Chi Wan

chi wan denimseeker

  • Name: Chi Wan.
  • Living in country: Hong Kong, China.
  • Age: 32 years.
  • Instagram ID: @denim_seeker.
  • Number of Instagram followers: 2,519 followers.

LJ: Can you introduce yourself? Who are you, where are you based, and what are you doing in your daily life? Are you working with denim?

Hello I am Chi Wan, a vintage clothing collector in Hong Kong. I will release an ebook called ‘Levi’s Denim Jackets & History’ this August. My real life identities rarely cross path with my collector identity. In daily life I am just a high school teacher, a dedicated husband and a loving father. Of course, I also run an Instagram account called ‘Denimseeker’, which is my identity in the internet world.

LJ: Where is your passion for denim coming from? And, specifically, your focus on Levi’s?

My love for denim began at the relatively early age. I love denim very much because it will fade over time. I like the concept that you can work with a very durable kind of fabric and create your very own fading pattern. It is the most natural and the most unqiue way to create your own identity. I still remember I purchased my first pair of Japanese-made jeans, a Denime 66 model, when I was in grade 11. It was on the last day of my final exams and my brain was full of which pair of jeans should I buy instead of the exam contents, haha. As a collector I collect more than just Levi’s, but I guess Levi’s always has a special spot in my heart because it is the first denim brand I have ever encounted in my life.

chi wan denimseeker

chi wan denimseeker

LJ: How did you came up with the idea to make this indepth ebook about the Levi’s jackets?

It’s almost a spontaneous thought when I decided to make an ebook about Levi’s jackets. It was during the COVID times and I have a lot of free time, so why not? (haha) Another reason is that it is always a shame that there isn’t a complete guide for Levi’s jeans or jackets like that in the past. Yes, you got very useful resources on the internet such as the Heddel’s dating guide but they failed to keep up with the recent discovery from the Japanese side, espcially when a lot of important new findings were made by the Japanese side over the past 10 years.

LJ: How long did you worked on this ebook? And, where did you get all the information from?

The first edition of the ebook was released July last year and it took me around 3 months to gather information about various Levi’s denim jacket models commonly found in the market. But, it took me another whole year to research all those Levi’s history related to the evolution of jackets. Blogs, including Long John!, magazines and books did provide a lot of information about the history side but none of them match the importance of reading old documents. Primary sources are something I value a lot so I dug through newspaper and documents from 1860s to 2000s and found a lot of new information about Levi’s’ history, some of them might even provide insights to solve some of the mysteries. I also own a fair share of original Levi’s denim jackets for reference as well.

chi wan denimseeker

chi wan denimseeker

chi wan denimseeker

LJ: Are you a collector of Levi’s jackets yourself? 

As I have mentioned previously, I am a firm believer of doing research based on primary sources. There is just no way I can make a book about jackets without owning them. Is there a personal favourite jacket? Hard to decide man. I guess the more I know about the history and the stories about the jacket, the more I like it. I got a 519XX jacket (blanket-lined Type 1) from the 1950s which was owned previously by a WW2 veteran. Knowing the life of the veteran and his adventure during the landing of Normandy make me treasure his jacket more. I guess this is one of the reasons why it is one of the very few personal collection I put to the ebook.

LJ: If you have to choose your favorite Levi’s jacket, which one is it, Type 1, 2 or 3? And, why is this your favorite denim jacket style?

Another tough question! Fit-wise I like Type 1 and Type 3 more but it is hard to say no to those biker cut Type 2 jackets full of patches.

chi wan denimseeker

chi wan denimseeker

LJ: Is there something that you surprised the most during your research?

For a long time there is a myth about the use of heavier denim by Levi’s during WW2. This is pretty much controversial topic among denim heads and vintage lovers. I tried to look at the issue based on literacture research and found something interesting about the change of denim measurement unit in the mid-1950s. It turns out it is very likely nobody is wrong, it’s could be just a misunderstanding…

LJ: Can people also expect that you’re making such an indepth overview with the jeans from Levi’s?

Well, I am pretty much a jacket nerd so…

chi wan denimseeker

chi wan denimseeker

LJ: When is this final ebook coming out/available for people? And how can they download it?

The ebook is currently in the pre-order phase and if you are interested, please send an request email to denimseeker@gmail.com by 21st August. I will release the ebook link to you via email on or before 28th August. The ebook is free so please don’t hesitate to send a request to me. Of course, there are also people who like to support my work by making a donation. In such case you can make a donation via PayPal to denimseeker@gmail.com and provide your email address to me in the payment note.

LJ: Will this version be the final you think of your research to the Levi’s jacket, or will it be something that is never final?

I hope this will be the final unless there are some exciting news or important discoveries in the near future. There are other projects in my mind and I don’t want to dwell too long on this one. It’s true that some information might got outdated after five to ten years, but I guess I have to pass the torch to the next crazy dude, right?

chi wan denimseeker

chi wan denimseeker

chi wan denimseeker

chi wan denimseeker

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Written by Wouter Munnichs
I'm the founder of Long John. Next to running this daily magazine, I'm working as a freelance denim specialist for the industry. Titled as 'Denim Influencer 2020' by Rivet 50. Celebrating my 10th anniversary with Long John this year.