A Special Worn-Out Lee 101 Rider Jeans Project

Sometimes people are starting special denim projects, really special ones. This is one of those projects initiated by Pol Houtkamp. Pol is working for Lee Jeans in The Netherlands for almost 29 years. A true Lee Jeans legend.

The Winegrower Project

As Pol is celebrating his holidays for many years in his beloved France he came up with a really cool idea. He wanted to start a special worn-out denim project with an original winegrower which is based in the province Languedoc, the South of France. During one of his holidays in 2011, he gave a brand new rigid Lee Rider Jeans to the winegrower to start a special fading journey. The winegrower didn’t understand the typical ‘do not wash your dry jeans for as long as possible’ so Pol decided to give the jeans to him and told him to use it every day, and to treat the jeans the way the winegrower prefer. So there were no restrictions.

The winegrower was very honored to be part of this special worn-out denim project. He agreed that Pol wanted the jeans back after a few years of intense use. Eventually, the winegrower used the jeans day in, day out during his hard labor work on the land and washed the jeans every time when it needed a fresh wash. Just like they did back in the days.

Beaten-Up Very Hard By The Winegrower

Every year when Pol came back on his favorite holiday spot he went to the winegrower to see the magical aging process of the Lee 101 Rider Jeans. The jeans were beaten-up very hard by the winegrower as he used it 24/7, so Pol decided to bring the jeans back home every time they met each other so his wife could repair it. The jeans is repaired every time by hand and sewing machine to expand the lifetime. She used different kind of denim fabrics, even a green selvage fabric from the Japanese Kurabo mill to repair the inner pockets.

In 2016 she repaired the jeans for the last time and it was also time to close this special worn-out denim project. Pol told the winegrower that he wouldn’t bring back the totally worn-out jeans as it reached the holy grail. It was a bit difficult for the winegrower to say goodbye to the jeans as the jeans felt like a second skin for him. And the jeans became a kind of a diary for him too. Pol gave him a new fresh pair of Lee Jeans so he could start a new denim adventure.

The specs of the Lee 101 Rider Jeans

The pair of Lee 101 Rider Jeans for this special worn-out project is made of 13.75oz blue single line selvage fabric. The fabric is woven on an authentic narrow shuttle loom at the legendary Kaihara denim mill in Japan. The threads of the fabric are dipped 13 times in indigo to get a rich and royal blue colour. The fabrics from Kaihara are always guaranteed to get the most beautiful fadings.

Inside this Lee 101 Rider Jeans there’s an unique pocket print with a great graphic design. The waist button of the jeans is made of premium yellow copper quality and the rivets are made of brown copper. The closure of the jeans is a zipper which is a kind of a trademark for Lee as Lee Jeans introduced the worlds first-ever zip fly jeans in 1926. The jeans itself is stitched with two colours, yellow and brown thread, which gives the jeans more depth and an original look. To top the jeans of the patch is made of genuine leather.


Share your story and your worn-out pair by sending an email to: wouter@long-john.nl

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. Celebrated my 10th anniversary with Long John in 2021.