Levi’s SecondHand


January 2023


It’s that time of the year again. Time to declutter and clean out your closet. Out with the old, in with the new. But what do we do with all of our clothes we no longer want to keep? We connected with one of our Brand Ambassadors, Drew Jessup, to provide some guidance and share his process.

How often do you clean out your closet?

Living in New York City, you’re met with this predicament to declutter more often than you’d like, but it also keeps your closet and life in order. Given the nature of working in the fashion space, I’ve developed the habit of cleansing every quarter – a formula I stick to pretty consistently.

Is there a certain method you use when cleaning out your closet? Do you look to get rid of specific pieces in your closet? If so, which?

My lens on the topic is a unique one because style is my main creative expression. My early years in the city, I didn’t know how to part ways with anything I could imagine styling (even once) – today, I have an equation. I’m hyper-conscious of my everyday uniform, staples, and investment pieces that will always have a place in my closet, and I never consider removing them. Whatever pieces are outside of that category and have been in my possession the longest, usually are the first to get bagged.

When going through your denim, how do you decide which to keep and which to give away?

I love denim, its American heritage, and its styling diversity – the cut, color, aging, wash, material and quality are part of a broad spectrum, which makes it easy to build a large collection. Ultimately, the deciding factors of what to give away typically trickle down to two things: styling and quality. For example, if I have multiple pairs of a similar fit that I style the exact same way, I only keep the one or two pairs that get the most use. Secondly, I love strong denim – raw, selvedge, 100% cotton, mid to heavyweight, etc. So if it’s a battle between pairs, I always stick with the one that will hold up and age beautifully through the years of wear ahead.

What is the hardest article of clothing to give away in your opinion?

The articles of clothing hardest to breakup with are ones that have been with me through various phases of my life. They’re a partner in crime in a way. I get sentimental about clothes that have accompanied the highs and lows throughout my story. Second to that, vintage trucker jackets and vintage blazers/suits always seem to evade the bag.

Man holding jeans

Man holding jeans

What is the one denim piece that you would never part with?

I have two pieces of denim from my father that I’ll wear and hold dearly forever. One is an old-school, light-wash, Levi’s® Trucker Jacket. In regards to my quality comments above, my father is a professional at putting clothing through various trials, and whichever pieces are up for the challenge are the only ones that remain. The second piece of denim is his old, flared, seafarer dungaree jeans, which were part of his crew uniform when he spent a summer sailing on the Victory Chimes up and down the Northeast Coast. I probably wear both pieces 3x a week.

Is there a specific place where you donate or give back your old denim?

My friends always get first dibs on what I’m parting ways with, especially if it’s something sentimental that I’d like to ‘keep in the family’ for a moment longer. Then, whatever is left over from their pickings gets sorted into three categories of quality. The low to middle range gets donated to Goodwill, or directly to someone homeless on my block. The middle to high range, I typically sell to a thrift store like Crossroads, and if it’s a more expensive piece I’ll sell it to a company like The Real Real. The only asterisk to this formula, especially when it comes to denim, is the Levi’s® Trade-In program. It makes the process of finding a new use/home for your loved Levi’s® while getting something in return. I also always try to support initiatives like that with the hope of other brands noticing and establishing something similar.

What part of the Levi’s® Trade-In program would you say is the most important to you?

Levi’s® Trade-In program is such an honorable branch of their company. It’s going to be a while before fashion reaches a sustainable hierarchy, but it’s systems like this that are accelerating the progress. What’s most important to me, and my own purpose of donating and giving new life to my clothing, is to avoid the already overflowing textile landfill. It’s a two-part responsibility that begins with our own over-consumption habits, being more conscious about what we’re buying, and the bulk in which we are. The second part is on brands, like Levi’s®, taking responsibility for what they’ve created. Having any form of a trade-in/ buy-back program, which awakens and incentivizes customers to create better sustainable habits and practices, is crucial to create a better, healthier future for Earth.

Man holding jeans