Vintage or Repro Oscar E. Kratz Edition

Lee101JBlueprint

In 1948 Oscar E. Kratz patented perhaps most iconic denim jacket in work clothing manufacturing, the Lee 101J.

There are many still floating around, mostly from the 70’s or 80’s. They are relatively inexpensive and some are in great condition.

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What is impressive is the quality of the denim. It has very short hairs and a slubby texture. The jacket construction is also rock solid, and there are indications of single needle sewing. The unevenness of the sewing lines does not represent shoddy work, but rather a personal touch that is missing from modern computer crafted apparel.

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This recent repro of a 1940’s version 101J. A new one will cost a good mint, but finding a vintage 1940’s is near to impossible. However, I find the denim having less personality and nuance. Although the sewing is perfect, I find that it is missing that human touch.

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I am a big fan of repros especially since they are sometimes constructed better than the originals. Vintages pieces have a unique identity of their own and its difficult to compare which is better.

You can wear both.



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