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Lee Vets and Resells Vintage Pieces

Lee is leaning into Gen Z’s preference for preowned clothing. 

The 133-year-old brand launched a new vintage shopping vertical on its website called Lee Archives. Described as “an homage to vintage lovers who scour shops and flea markets for Lee relics,” the launch follows fellow Kontoor Brands-owned label Wrangler’s foray into vintage resale in April. 

The first Lee Archives products are Lee Storm Rider jackets “likely produced” in the ’60s and ’70s. Defined by signature details including a corduroy collar, blanket lining and zigzag stitching, the style is the one Marilyn Monroe wore in one of her most famous photos taken while filming “The Misfits” in 1961. 

The Rider Jacket dates to 1948 when it was originally designed and advertised to cowboys. A lined version, the Storm Rider, was introduced in 1953. “We have had iterations of these pieces consistently for decades, they are a coveted piece of denim history as well as a modern expression of our heritage,” said Brigid Stevens, Lee’s global vice president of marketing.

Lee Archives

The vintage jackets retail for $225. Lee is working with a qualified third party to source and vet all of its vintage pieces, with each item also undergoing an internal check with in-house design and quality teams, Stevens said. 

“There is a high demand for pre-owned apparel for a number of reasons,” she continued. “As one of the original denim brands, we see people actively searching for Lee vintage pieces, and some are discovering us for the first time in the secondhand market. We wanted to offer a way to connect these buyers, not only with the with quality goods, but also introducthem to the story behind some of Lee’s most iconic styles.”

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Lee Archives

At least one more vintage drop is planned for early 2023. If it goes well, Stevens said the company “would be open to expanding.”

There is no shortage of in-demand archival styles from the heritage brand. The original Lee jean, launched in 1924 as the Cowboy Pant, will turn 100 in 2024. The brand is planning special programs to celebrate the milestone. 

“Timeless style just gets better with age,” Stevens added.