February 2021

Levi's vintage clothing featuring acid house styleLevi's vintage clothing featuring acid house style

In Manchester, England, in the late 1980s, alternative rock collided with dance culture. Young indie bands, inspired by DJs spinning acid house for a growing club scene, asked these same DJs to collaborate on their records. The result was a heady medley of dance rhythms and melodic retro-pop. This fresh sound—defined by its loping beats, jangling guitars, psychedelic swirls and pop choruses—created a whole new scene.

Three different photos, one showing people entering a club the other two black and white photos of people dancing in the clubThree different photos, one showing people entering a club the other two black and white photos of people dancing in the club

As Manchester’s sound evolved, so did its distinctive style. Kids started buying up old-stock ’70s Levi’s® flares and wearing them oversized to stand out from the crowd. Soon enough, baggy jeans and bright colors were all the rage at local raves and warehouse parties. By the time the government cracked down on the club circuit, acid house had left its enduring mark. Its legacy lives on still—in rave culture, in modern design and in the latest edition of Levi’s® Vintage Clothing. Complete with baggy fits, bold colors and vintage graphics, this limited-edition collection pays tribute to the legendary style and music of late ’80s Manchester.

Two men picking up cards on the floor from in front of a record shopTwo men picking up cards on the floor from in front of a record shop

Manchester in Minature

While each iteration of Levi’s® Vintage Clothing is a labor of love, it’s fair to say that this season was particularly special. With on-location photo shoots off-limits (because, you know, the pandemic), we had to get creative.

Enter Ric Facchin, an artist and Mancunian (that’s someone from Manchester!) who used all this newfound time at home to pick up a new hobby: model building. Rather than depict touristy landmarks, Facchin replicates the very heart and soul of Manchester: local shops, hole-in-the-wall takeaways and graffiti-covered streets—grime and all.

Portrait of the artist

For this campaign, Facchin meticulously recreated 1980s Manchester, including buildings that are no longer standing, in scales ranging from 1:28 to 1:18:

“Manchester of the late ’80s was quite a concentrated city, so the cluster of buildings I recreated are all within half a mile of each other, primarily around an area called the Northern Quarter and back Piccadilly. At the time, it was this part of the city that you would go to for cheap trainers and affordable clothes, as it was full of independently-owned ‘rag trade’-centric shops.”

The ability to use everyday items fascinates me. For example, you can use the netting that garlic bulbs come in to create grids on the pavement!”

A gif of the miniature record storeA gif of the miniature record store
the miniature recored store front

Miniature records in the artists hand

To faithfully rebuild the city, Facchin started out with a blueprint. From there, all he needed to meticulously create each detail—from drain pipes to period-correct street art—was a fresh blade in his craft knife, a little resourcefulness and lots of attention to detail.

From start to end, taking into account glue-setting times, Facchin’s process took about three and a half months. The super-realistic replica transports us back to the 1980s Manchester, the scene that started it all...