Style
Rugged Appeal
Lavonne Cheah 
Levi’s Type III Trucker jacket turns 50
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Levi's has been producing jeans since 1853 but it wasn't until the early 20th century that the company started making jackets. Its first, the Type I, is a simple one-pocket cinch back garment. Type II removed the cinch and added a second pocket.

In 1962, Levi’s released Type III with triangular pointed flaps running down on each side of the jacket to make it more casual. Since then, it has become an iconic piece, the most popular being the 70505 or better known as the Type III Trucker Jacket. Introduced 50 years ago and designed by Jack Lucier, it has been worn by everyone from ranchers and truck drivers to rock stars and fashion rebels.

“When anyone thinks of a denim jacket, the image that comes to mind is invariably the Levi's Type III Trucker,” notes Jonathan Cheung, Levi’s global head of design.

According to GQ magazine, the jacket's common moniker – the Trucker – was coined by a group of Japanese collectors obsessed with American style. Just like fine wine, the Levi's Type III Trucker Jacket also “grows” better with age.

As the Trucker celebrates its golden anniversary, five Malaysian personalities from different walks of life have come forward to share their stories about the garment.

From left: Audi Ashraff, Chin Wee Yong, Man Chien, Brian McBe and Ahirine Ahiruddin 

 

Brian McBe
Singer and barber
Born and raised in Borneo, McBe grew up around music, and started singing and playing the guitar at six. He has since gone on to perform at numerous music festivals around the region, including Japan, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore and Hong Kong. McBe also runs 52 Barbers at APW Bangsar.

“My first memory of the Levi’s Trucker jacket is the smell! It has a unique scent,” he says. He bought his first Trucker in 2010. “But this piece of clothing has also become part of me. The fades, the stains and even the rips – they all represent me. They show the ups and downs of my life journey. The way it fades showed my body movements when I’m in my barbering world. The stains and rips bring back wonderful memories of me riding my bike. I would go as far as saying that my Trucker is my life.”

As to the oft-asked question as to why he put on a jacket in this weather, he simply replies: “The more I wear it, the more comfortable it gets.”

 

Man Chien
Fashion designer
Man Chien lives and breathes fashion, which is why when asked to describe her earliest memory of the Trucker, she remarks: “Unruly and soulful.”

“My first jacket was a men’s Altered Piece Trucker Reform made of vintage Levi’s fabric and it came with distressed edges and post-washed shadow effects on cuffs and waist hems,” she adds. “And I got it in size L, which looked really big on me. I love working with fabrics and have a thing for aged, natural-fibre fabrics.”

“Fabrics are like works of art to me, and I see the seasoned ones as a documentary of time and stories. When I first saw the raw edged, seasoned looking Trucker, I thought it was the perfect coalescence of an unruly soul. It’s my kind of look.”

The Trucker became a wardrobe staple, and she wears it almost every day whether to work or out with friends. During one of her painting sessions, the jacket got stained and she liked it even more. “It’s as if it was getting its character further defined, becoming an extension of me.”

That jacket is now on loan to a close friend from overseas. But she already has a replacement for it – an oversized Jigsaw Trucker which she is also hoping to add more of her own personality.

 

Chin Wee Yong
Interior designer
His friends call Chin the King of Denim because he collects them all over the world ever since he bought his first pair of Levi’s jeans from a flea market in Singapore. His first Trucker is a vintage from a thrift shop in Bandung.

“It’s like one of my good friends. I wear it most of the time. I like to wear it over my button down shirt, or printed shirt. Sometimes, I even match it with shorts.”

The jacket is still in mint condition and remains his favourite from his collection of 40 denim apparels – both new and pre-owned.

 

Ahirine Ahiruddin
Student, columnist and biker
The adventurous Ahirine may only be 20 but she has been a motorcycle enthusiast for the last four years. It is her love for riding the motorbike that inevitably led to her first Trucker jacket.

“My first me­mory of the jacket was wearing it for a photoshoot,” she says, adding that it has now become a favourite clothing item.

“The Trucker is so easy to match with everything in my closet. It’s also surprisingly light and I like wearing it over a T-shirt. As for riding, the Trucker is a perfect fit with my riding pants and boots.”

 

Audi Ashraff
Levi’s master tailor
A self-taught tailor, Audi has been a master tailor for Levi's since 2010, customising denim for customers. But he has been a fan of the brand for a very long time.

“I was about 11 or 12 when I received the Trucker as a gift,” Audi says. “But as I was involved in a lot of outdoor activities, the jacket stayed mostly in my closet. Now that I’m working at Levi’s, it has become my staple workwear. I pair it with my Levi’s jeans, of course.”

It is not hard to show the love he has for the denim jacket. “It’s so versatile and suits a variety of styles,” he enthuses.



This article first appeared in Focus Malaysia Issue 260.