Most people today take the wrinkle-free garment for granted. But ask your grandparents and you’ll discover that “doing the ironing” was a regular household chore once upon a time back in the day. We spend a bit less time at the ironing board today. But when Levi’s® introduced the Sta-Prest® line of pants in 1964, they were a revelation.
Thought to be perfect for workers who needed a durable-but-fresh-looking pair of pants for daily wear, they quickly became the go-to pants for Mods, the youth subculture that coalesced around fashion, music and scooters in mid-’60s London. The Mods were, in many ways, the progenitors of today’s youth culture, and their legacy of making style a testament to personal expression has become the prevailing attitude of modern life.
So why are we bringing the Sta-Prest® line back? The truth is the style never really went out of fashion. It just migrated subcultures. Think the chino-and-undershirt look of East L.A. street fashion, the workwear stylings of ‘90s West-Coast hip-hop and the baggy cut-off fits of skaters. The looks of ‘90s fashion are on the rise, and we realized we have a legacy line that’s perfect for today’s look and feel.
But we didn’t just reach into our archives and reproduce the original Sta-Prest® line. Technology’s come a long way since we last produced these pants, so we did what we do — we improved them. The new line is a bit lighter in thread weight and a whole lot more comfortable with the inclusion of modern stretch technology.
The new line comes as a 502™ Chino with a regular tapered fit in three washes: harvest gold khaki, denim blue and mineral black. The fits are all designed to look equally rad on men and women and can be worn baggy and cinched above the waist, super loose and sitting below the waist, or just straight-up at the waistline.
So how do we actually create a permanent crease? The process of putting permanent creases in garments was patented by Koret of California, a women’s clothing manufacturer, in 1961 to put pleats in skirts. The process involves coating a finished garment with a chemical resin and its catalyst. Then creases (or pleats) are created with a steam press, and the garment is baked in an oven. When the right temperature is reached, it triggers the catalyst, which bonds the resin with the garment material. And Sta-Prest® -o! The crease is made permanent.
Around 1962, Mel Bacharach, merchandise manager for the LS&Co. sportswear line, began to experiment with the process on his own. Once he’d perfected his method, he convinced company managers to launch a line of permanent-crease products that was eventually named Sta-Prest®. Prototype garments were produced in 1963 and offered for sale for the 1964 season to huge success.