Meet The Denim Masterminds Giving Vintage Levi’s a Modern Upgrade
L.A.-based Re/Done transforms old jeans into wearable works of art.
Try on a pair of authentic, straight-from-the-thrift-store vintage Levi’s and you’ll understand why stylish men never actually wear them: The fit isn’t right, the cuts are awkward, and the sizing doesn’t make much sense. But the denim itself—worn-in and flawlessly faded—is as close to perfection as jeans get.
That realization is what lead fashion industry veterans Sean Barron and Jamie Mazur to start Re/Done, the L.A.-based company that turns vintage Levi’s into modern-day designer denim. The line, which launched with women’s jeans in 2014, has since expanded into two styles for men—a “relaxed tapered” cut and a “slim straight” design.
Both styles are available in black or blue, but each pair has a completely unique identity. “A lot of brands do washes and sanding to make jeans appear old, and it always looks fake compared to a jean that someone really wore for years,” says Mazur. “The idea is to start with a jean that’s already broken-in and make it t the way we want it to.”
Mazur and Barron buy mass quantities of Levi’s from rag houses, then pass the jeans on to Re/Done’s factory, where each pair is sorted by hand. “We’ll get ten thousand of them at a time,” says Mazur. “We look at a jean and ask ourselves, ‘Do we like the color? Do we like the fade and where the holes are? Would you want to wear this jean?’ ” If the answer is yes, the pants live to see another day.
The design duo tinkered for months on the consistency of the cuts. As it turns out, trying to create uniform sizing across an unimaginable spectrum of styles is a painstaking process, but one that pays dividends: Mazur and Barron sold all 250 pairs they had in stock on the day of their launch. Two years later, the demand for Re/Done denim hasn’t slowed. It helps that Mazur’s supermodel girlfriend, Alessandra Ambrosio, stars in the brand’s campaigns, along with It girls Elsa Hosk, Ruby Aldridge and Bella Hadid.
Supermodels aside, the jeans seem to be selling themselves. On the brand’s e-commerce site, shopredone.com, several men’s sizes are completely sold out—and Mazur plans on keeping it that way. “We’re selling to more brick-and-mortar stores now, but we feel like less distribution is better,” he says. “We really want to keep it exclusive.” Better add your name to the wait list.