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Levi's turns to lasers to age its jeans

Levi's turns to lasers to age ...
Using Project F.L.X. technology, a pair of jeans can be given the "lived-in" look in 90 seconds
Using Project F.L.X. technology, a pair of jeans can be given the "lived-in" look in 90 seconds
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Using Project F.L.X. technology, a pair of jeans can be given the "lived-in" look in 90 seconds
Using Project F.L.X. technology, a pair of jeans can be given the "lived-in" look in 90 seconds

Paying extra for jeans that look like they're worn out might not be everyone's cup of tea, but if it's yours, then you may welcome the following news. Levi Strauss & Co. has announced its new Project F.L.X. (future-led execution) program, intended to streamline and simplify the jean-"finishing" process – using lasers.

Currently, worn and faded elements are added to Levi's jeans by hand, in an 18 to 20-step process that allows each worker to finish approximately two to three pairs of jeans per hour. The process also involves the application of thousands of chemicals, which aren't necessarily good for workers or the environment.

Working with project partner Jeanologia, however, Levi's has developed a new three-step system in which all the faded and worn bits are initially mapped out on a computer image of the jeans, and then physically added to the garments by lasers. The process can finish a pair of jeans in just 90 seconds (followed by a final wash cycle), and reportedly eliminates the need for many of the chemicals – ultimately the company hopes to get the number still required down to a few dozen.

Additionally, Levi's states that the technology should allow it to drastically reduce the amount of lead time needed when introducing new designs to the market, going from approximately six months down to a matter of weeks or even days. Digital files of finishing patterns can be sent to factories right before manufacturing begins, plus custom on-demand finishing is also possible.

The system is currently being phased in, with a full roll-out planned to be complete by 2020. There is no word on how it may affect jean prices, or factory employee numbers.

For more information on Project F.L.X., check out the following video.

Source: Levi Strauss & Co.

Introducing Levi Strauss & Co. Project F.L.X.

Not my cup of tea. I remember the kids who did this in the 80s, and the Designer jeans trend, and I remember thinking 'how vain, and vacuous'. Still, Levis would be in error not to take their money. (I don't even wear jeans anymore, I wear the $16 urban star pants from Costco, the spandex makes them superior to any other denim pant).
Maybe they should just give non-faded jeans to homeless people and then tell them to come back in a month and they'll give them a new pair? I can fathom paying for pre-faded jeans. I buy my carpenter jeans from Rural King for $11 and fade them the old fashion way: wear them and work in them! My wife complains they're baggy, but I love them. I will say though, that the 2 pair she made me buy at American Eagle were really comfortable. Look and feel like regular Denim, but they stretch just a little. But, just like Levi's, the pair that was "faded" cost more ($10 more!) than the "non-faded" pair. But getting back to the technical side of the article, it's great that they're looking at a better way to do this than a bunch of chemicals. The laser will pay for itself in no time. We use a laser ablation setup at work for removing coatings from aluminum, it paid for itself in a month. That's pretty impressive ROI