The Lady Behind Denim Dudes

Levi Strauss & Co.
August 14, 2015

Amy Leverton loves all aspects of denim. She’s spent her career working in the industry, as a denim and casual wear designer and then in trend forecasting. So, when a good friend asked if she’d ever considered writing a book about denim, her interest was sparked.

Being a connoisseur of the genre, she knew the bookshelves of denim heads already contained a fair amount of denim history penned by historians. She wanted to create something different that played to her passion — street style photography — and her strengths — a deep network of inspirational denim enthusiasts, brand founders and craftsman.

“I thought, if anyone is going to do this, it has to be me,” she told Unzipped.

The result? Denim Dudes, a 265+ page book filled with gorgeous full-bleed street-style photographs and short stories of stylish guys who are involved in the denim industry. The book, Amy says, will appeal to denim lovers of all sorts.

Denim Dudes cover

“I wanted it to be cool enough and relevant enough that the denim heads would get it, but also keep it interesting and varied enough that someone who is interested in denim might pick it up and start a lifelong obsession.”

While it doesn’t have the depth of a history book, readers can still learn quite a lot from by reading the short paragraphs from guys who are really obsessed with denim.

(Wondering about the ladies in denim? Fear not. Amy tells us that’s a whole other book … and we have it on good authority it will be!)

Seeking Denim Dudes

Lucky for Amy, searching for “denim dudes” to feature in her book didn’t involve any personal ads or cold calls. She was able to tap into the contacts she’d built up over 10 years working in the industry.

“Really it was a case of thinking about whose style I admire. And then I wanted to mix it up – I didn’t want them all to be purist designers, for example, or a certain type of style, because that would be too consistent and too boring.”

In the end, she says, she already knew about 90 percent of the guys, and those guys led her to the ones she didn’t know directly.

Guys in Levi’s

Denim Dudes Bart Sights Photo Credit_UlyssesOrtegaFlipping through the book, you’ll see Levi’s® pieces on almost every page (and even a current LS&Co. employee; hat tip Bart Sights on page 78). That, Amy says, happened organically. She simply instructed the denim dudes to wear their “ultimate outfit.”

In Amy’s estimation, the reason Levi’s® show up so frequently is because they’re the original.

“When you think of denim, you think of Levi’s,” Amy said. “Everyone I know has at least one Levi’s in their wardrobe, whether that’s jeans, or shorts or a jacket. We’ve grown up with it, and not just the U.S., it seems to be true everywhere.”

An Age-Old Question

In the book’s introduction, Amy says she set out to answer a question: What makes denim so appealing? The answer, in part comes from the uniqueness of denim fabric — the way it fades sets it apart from almost any other fabric.

“Denim wears down and becomes part of you and your personality. And somehow in the process it becomes almost like a blank palate and canvas and you can wear anything with it. That’s its success story and why it’s become so universal.”

If you want to see the guys for yourself, Denim Dudes, published by Laurence King, is available at select Levi’s stores in the U.S. or you can find it on Amazon. And follow @DenimDudes on Instagram to see even more denim amazing-ness from Amy.

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Photo credits: Sadia Rafique (feature photo); Ulysses Ortega (Denim Dudes photos)