Lee 101 USA: The Evolution of a True Original


Flip through the pages of Lee’s history books and you’ll find clothing designed to take a beating and last. You’ll see the men and women that built America wearing jeans that were tough and yet comfortable, both innovative and timeless. These pieces of history were hand produced in the USA by skilled craftsman because H.D. Lee knew that without a reputation for quality, there was no foundation to build on.

Fast-forward to today, and you’ll find designer Peter Lang has been hard at work crafting this very special line of Made in the USA Lee products. With 125 years of archives and product development on Lee’s resume, he sets out every season to honor and celebrate the brand’s roots and heritage. By borrowing from Lee’s signature design details, hardware, fabrics, and stylings of old, Peter and the Lee 101 team are producing a collection of pieces that live up to the legend of their predecessors but fit into the wardrobes of today’s men and women. View our Lee 101 gallery below:

Selvage denim produced on antique shuttle looms, hardware manufactured and applied with original Lee machinery, and leather patches hailing from Midwestern tanneries are just a few of the distinctive details that place these small-run products in a tier of their own. And while coming in at a notably higher price tag, this denim and collection of shirts, jackets and accessories is truly a pinnacle of Lee’s traditions and achievements.

With the lofty standards of Lee’s legendary history in mind, each piece in the Lee 101 collection is tailored to the specifications of the modern denim lover – and it all starts with the fabric. The Lee 101 collection uses selvage (meaning “self-edge”) denim, which is produced on the same machines and in the same way as it has been from the beginning. Unique to selvage denim is its distinct striped edge, once used to identify the mill where it was produced. On a completed pair of jeans, this mark of quality can be seen on the outseam by flipping up the cuffs. Selvage denim is often more densely woven from heavyweight yarns, creating a fabric that can endure daily wear and will only improve with age.

This premium fabric is then constructed in silhouettes that compliment modern tailoring, and classically worn washes. These jeans are most at home in your everyday rotation. “With daily wear, these jeans with age beautifully and become a second skin,” Peter likes to say.

101Z-KC WetTake, for example, the “KC WET” wash. The indigo on a pair of KC WET jeans is designed to flake away with wear, creating a distinctive and quickly evolving wear pattern that is unique to the each pair. Other washes include the 30 and 180 Day washes, designed to resemble jeans that have been worn for 30 or 180 days straight and the unique character that develops as a result.

Just like these washes, each fit is labored over to create a style that flatters without sacrificing comfort or function. The contoured waist and hips are carefully designed to result in a flattering and slim effect without feeling tight or restricting movement. From there, take your pick from a range of straight leg and “Lean” fits.

With every passing year, Lee adds to its history books. We pack away experience, insight, and add to the story we have been telling through our customers since they day we first opened our doors in Salina, KS in 1889. The Lee 101 collection keeps us anchored to our blue-collar roots.  Lee 101 is the original – it defines American heritage and exemplifies seamless form and function. Built out of a century-old utilitarian institution, the Lee 101 collection represents the evolution of the original and a preservation of the archetype.

To buy your own piece of Lee history, visit Lee.com >

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