For the most part, denim isn't to be messed with. It works well in jeans and jackets, as our father Levi Strauss intended, but not much else. Not really. And that's not through a lack of trying. Once upon a time, in the living rooms of early-Noughties footballers, really horrible couches and end tables were upholstered in distressed denim. Denim trilbys sat atop smooth guys who liked to stand by themselves in nightclub corners. It even outfitted a former prince and princess of pop in a now iconic his 'n' hers moment at the 2001 American Music Awards. It didn't work. Leave denim (and Britney) alone.
Or, rather, leave it to Mr Strauss and his own company to redefine their own invention on their own terms. Which is what Levi's has done in its latest collab with New Balance. Following a successful crossover last season, the two brands have once again partnered up to pour denim upon a range of trucker jackets, T-shirts, separates – and yes, trainers.
The 327 – a marquee silhouette for New Balance – is arguably the collection's grail. Not just because it has a proven track record in sold out collabs with Casablanca, among others. That helps. But more so because the Levi's x New Balance 327 has turned the tide on repurposed denim. This trainer is legitimately cool. This denim trainer is legitimately cool. You read that right.
Thank a design that focuses more on the technicality of denim as opposed to its cowboys and rhinestone connotations. Available in multiple colourways, the best has to be a half-and-half sneaker that combines New Balance's Seventies roots with sparing, selective uses of Levi's denim. You can see it right there in the trainer's upper, but this is a nod, not a hostile takeover.
Thus, denim can thrive in new territory. Not in Premier Leaguers' PS5 room, or on their suits. But take one look inside the soon-to-be-launched 327 and you'll find three words that, once, may've given just cause to hide behind the nearest denim cushion: 'Levi's for feet'. These days, they roll off the tongue.
Available from levi.com on 3 December, priced £110
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