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New Collection Upcycles Levi’s Denim Into Traceable Jeans

Every jean tells a story, and a new collaboration between Hong Kong-based upcycled apparel company The R Collective and Levi’s aims to give unparalleled insight into a garment’s history.

The R Collective’s Denim Reimagined Project uses Levi’s inventory of irregular and leftover samples, as well as technology from software solutions provider Evrythng to create a digital roadmap of how the garment came to be through the supply chain. The tech company produces Internet of Things (IoT) software to connect consumer goods to the internet and drive real-time applications.

Designed by the R Collective’s award-winning designer Jesse Lee, the eight-piece limited-edition collection includes garments with a scannable QR code on the label by trims supplier Avery Dennison that displays one of four messages related to the garment’s supply chain, eco-friendly washing tips, garment recycling information and the collection’s story. The labeling is made from recycled materials that are zero-waste and water-soluble.

“My new upcycled collection brings sustainability to the forefront,” Lee said on The R Collective website. “Around 80 percent of a product’s environmental impact is locked in at the design stage. I reimagined my entire design process so that people understand how their clothing choices and care habits affect climate change.”

Lee took steps to ensure the manufacturing process maintained the authenticity of the Levi’s denim. Jeans were restitched into new denim pieces by clothing manufacturer Crystal International Group. Each item in the collection maintains Levi’s original hardware and authentic labeling.

The women’s collection includes Barmouth Shorts, which feature unstitched back pockets repurposed as side pocketing; Vent Vest, a gray denim vest made from three pairs of jeans; Tyne Jeans, a slim-fit jean with a white side panel; and a Saltburn Skirt, which features patchwork denim and an asymmetrical hem available in two different color stories.

Other pieces include a Roth dress, a two-toned denim dress with an asymmetrical hem; a Port Jumpsuit, featuring a slim fit through the leg and a step hem; and Herne Jeans, a cropped wide-leg with exposed paneling in the back.

The collection retails for $128-$298. Garments are now available for pre-order on The R Collective site and will ship after May 20.