Levi’s 505’s were introduced in 1967, with a slimmer silhouette than 501s and a zip instead of a button fly. The jeans increased in popularity in the ’70s in particular among punk rockers who eschewed hippies’ bell bottoms. Every member of The Ramones wore 505s (customized to be even more tapered) on the band’s self-titled 1976, and Debbie Harry was also a fan.
Now, after a year of research and development, Levi’s is introducing an even trimmer version with a lower waist and calling it the 505C (c for customized).
Levi’s head of design Jonathan Cheung talked to Esquire about why they updating the classic now:
The conception of the 505c came about just over a year ago. I’d managed to see a pair of Johnny Ramone’s 505s and noticed he’d customized them by making the legs a bit slimmer. That planted the seed. Like many other people here, I’m a big fan of the 505—specifically the vintage version—and with such a resurgence of vintage Levi’s happening, we wanted to remaster the punk rock classic.
The above photograph of Debbie Harry wearing the jeans onstage in 1976 inspired updated style. Cheung and his team bought a deadstock pair from the same year from a Japanese collector. A label on the jeans indicated the fabric’s code, so they traced the fabric back to the mill that made that original pair and reproduced it.
The washes are named after denim-wearing icons (Joey, Patti, Elvis, etc), and they retail for $98, except for the extra-distressed Patti wash, which is $148. Levi’s timing couldn’t be better. The silhouette is very right now and they are officially on my wish list.