Lee marks 125 years of fashionable denim jeans

By Barbie Salvador

Posted at May 22 2014 04:55 PM | Updated as of May 23 2014 06:41 PM

Lee Jeans fashion show. Photo by Barbie Salvador for abs-cbnNews.com

MANILA – The next time you wonder if it’s worth shelling out a couple of thousand pesos for a quality pair of jeans, just think that your purchase can actually outlive you.

The Lee Archive Tour exhibit proves this true as it puts on display key denim items that have shaped the fashion culture over the past 125 years.

At the heart of the exhibit are 27 notable Lee items that chronicle the brand’s fashion pieces over the past century. The 27-piece Lee Archive falls into three eras: the Work Wear (worn by mechanics in 1910-1119), Western Wear (Cowboys 1920-1929) and Leisure Wear (casual fashion 1950-1959).

Lee Archive Tour. Photo by Barbie Salvador for abs-cbnNews.com

Lee Jeans historian and exhibit curator Jean Svadlenak described the woman’s Union-All from the year 1918 as the most vintage in the collection and incidentally, also her most favorite piece.

Equally important pieces in exhibit are the Lee 101 jeans which are reproductions of the original, classic cowboy jeans, and its modernized version, the Lee101+ jeans.

Limited edition Lee Jeans mascot Buddy Lee dolls wearing customized 101+ denim replicas. Photo by Barbie Salvador for abs-cbnNews.com

The Lee Archive Tour exhibit will put every denim connoisseur in an exhilarating experience as it puts on display the cutest 125 limited edition “Buddy Lee” dolls fitted with their own Lee 101+ denim miniature replicas.

Meanwhile, fans of well-known Japanese photographer, Nobuyoshi Araki, are in luck as they get to see Araki’s artistic collaboration for Lee, exclusive for the Philippine audience.

Lee denims designed by Filipino artists. Photo by Barbie Salvador for abs-cbnNews.com

Also framed and on display are Lee jeans designed by various Filipino artists, including art directors Chad Manzo and Nicolo Nimor; designer/muralist Dee Jae Paeste; sculptor and fashion designer Leeroy New; illustrator Doyle See, illustrator Uzi Emperado; accessories designer Paul Jatayna; and Turbo Goth vocalist/tattoo artist Sarah Gaugler.

Fashionistas are in for a treat as they get to customize their own Lee jeans. The DIY area features everything from monogramming your name, to changing the buttons and rivets, to adding patches and appliques. You can also make your brand new jeans vintage-looking by scraping, whiskering and distressing them.

Guests customize their Lee jeans at the DIY area. Photo by Barbie Salvador for abs-cbnNews.com

The Lee Archive Tour started with Beijing and Japan and is now in Manila for the entire month. The first leg opened May 19 in Glorietta was hosted by Kim Jones, with music by DJ Samir and performance by the Philippine All-Stars.

The Lee Archive Tour will be restaged in Robinson’s Place Ermita and SM Mall of Asia, before it travels to Thailand, India and Australia.