Lee is in the market since 1889, with over 130 years of experience the brand must have gone far in its experience and craftsmanship. But how far? Let’s answer some of your most common yet awaited questions an this detailed article.
I could tell you things in a more interesting way because of my firsthand experience with Lee jeans. So, shall we start?
How To Date Lee Jeans?
Dating lee jeans is simple as cake because every jean comes with a big tag attached to the waistband as shown in the image that stores very important details like the manufacturer and packer, style code, size, and the one you seek ‘packed on’. This date of packaging refers to when the final piece is packed after completing the manufacturing and testing. So this could be regarded as the date of birth of these jeans like the day when the baby is born is counted as its birth date and not the time he/she was in the womb. My Lee jean date to May 2022 (05/2022). Comment yours!
However, the manufacturing date stands close to the packaging date as brands do not waste their time to finally fill their inventory in warehouses and distribution centers.
Different Styles OF Lee Jeans:
Lee offers 7 leg styles and 8 various collections for their jeans. Leg covers all preferred types like Bootcut, cropped, flare, skinny, straight, tapered, and wide. With an extensive list of collections in the USA like European collection, Extreme, Lee x Pendleton, lee x smiley, lee x the hundreds, lee 101, modern series, and vintage modern.
Even though having nearly the same leg styles in all countries, they have different collections in every country. You may notice that the same type of jeans is selling with different names in the USA than in other countries like Japan, South Korea, or India.
Countries Which Have Official Lee Stores
On Lee store locator it is stated that they have local stores in 15 different countries which are Belgium, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Denmark, Ireland, Sweden, Poland, and the United States. While it does not mean that lee jeans or their items are only available in these countries instead the parent company of Lee is now moving toward an omnichannel strategy.
Which leverages its offline and online stores in 8 other countries which include Australia, China, Japan, India, Philippines, South Africa, South Korea, and Thailand. These stores can easily be reached via LeeJeans-ap.com. So, as of September 2022 publicly released information, Lee has brick-and-mortar or online stores in 23 countries though they don’t currently ship internationally (source).
Who Owns Lee Jeans?
Though Kontoor Brands owns the Lee jeans it does not mean they are the ones to find them. Lee is in earth since 1889 whereas Kontoor acquired the brand in 1969 (source). So why not take a short glimpse of history?
In 1889, Henry David Lee along with 4 business partners set up The H.D Lee Mercantile Company in Kansas. In the beginning phase, the company was focused on creating work jackets and overalls. In 1925, Lee entered into denim business with Lee 101 (denim for men) and 101B (denim for boys). However, the true jump in the jean market happened in 1947 when they launched jeans for women.
It is the year 1954 when Lee’s denim shifts its attention from workwear to true pop culture fashion. Till 1996, lee retailed in the offline market with brick-and-mortar but it is one of the first fashion players to see the Internet as an opportunity and soon launched Lee.com in 1996.
Finally, Lee moved its headquarters to North Carolina (Kontoor headquarters are also located in the same) after seeing more than 130 years in Kansas – its founding state.
How To Identify Lee Vintage Jeans
In 2017, Lee launched the vintage modern collection by creating pairs that bring inspiration from their iconic style and combined it with modern style. I recommend when it comes to buying vintage pairs from Lee always do so either in their local store or official online stores because these pairs are quite expensive and above all, they are a sign of class.
However, if you can’t buy brand new due to budget issues and wanna go toward Etsy or eBay route then you need to do thorough research. To make it simple I’ve compiled a few points for each style of vintage jeans to check before paying a dollar to the seller.
- All vintage Lee Union-Alls have Union-Alls™ woven labels on that Levi pair.
- On original Vintage modern Lady Lee A-line jeans and Vintage Modern High Rise Shorty Short, iconic details such as Lee leather patch, branded hardware, and classic spade pocket could easily be noticed. As a fun fact, these particular vintage jeans are inspired by the first-ever women’s lee jeans.
- Before buying Lee vintage workwear jeans must check for the Lee Workwear labels for maximum authenticity.
- Lee pays premium attention to details in their vintage series because of the price and customers’ expectations so they all have detailed back pocket stitching and labels. If you feel that they are cheaply made or not uses quality leather patches then they may not be genuine vintage pieces.
- If you’re eagerly looking for true lee vintage jeans that are dated to the 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s, then here are some labels from old lee jeans which you must confirm with the one you’re buying. However, these labels may not apply to modern vintage jeans as they are mixed with new-age styles.
Is Lee & Levi The Same Company?
No, Lee & Levi are not the same company, they are different from their birth however because of many similarities in the look and feel of these company’s products many people thought that they must be connected or owned by the same person or holding company. But I should tell you while Lee is owned by Kontoor Brands, Levi Strauss & Co. owns the Levi brand.
But what about the owners of these companies, they must be close. No, Kontoor is a spin-off from VF Corporation which is long owned by the Barbey Family Trust, and on the other hand, Levi Strauss & Co. is owned by the Haas Family. Wanna know an interesting fact that connects both companies?
Both Levi and Lee didn’t start as jean manufacturers or sellers, instead, Levi Strauss (Levi’s Founder) started as a dry goods business in 1853 to serve small general stores of the American west (source). Where Henry David Lee 1889 (Lee’s founder) started as the distributor of groceries and other staples to dry goods & grocery stores by sourcing them from around the world and packing them under the Lee brand (source). Have you noticed a common starting point of both companies – Dry Goods?
Apart from one really common factor, both brands have their signature and styles to distinguish in the market. Though in my opinion price differentiates both the brands and their target market. In my research, I saw that Levi has 24+ pairs of jeans above the $200 range while Lee only has less than 7 pairs of jeans above $200. On the other side, both Lee & Levi have almost the same number of jeans under $30. However, a point to note is while counting, Levi was offering discounts so if we compare before cuts then Levi & Lee has one pair of jeans each under $33.
It is straight that Lee and Levi are the same in affordability and both the owners started in the dry goods genre before making jeans, quality-wise, things can go up-down in the affordable range but when it comes to paying a premium to get the premium jeans then Levi takes the lead without any doubt by having more inventory of jeans above $200 than Lee.
Is Lee & Wrangler The Same?
Yes and No! It depends on the way you are perceiving. Ownership wise they are samely owned by Kontoor Brands. Origin wise they both are created by two different people named C.C Hudson (Wrangler) and Henry David Lee (yes, Lee jeans). On affordability to premium ratio; wrangler hands-down wins on having more jeans under $30 than lee, to be exact wrangler has over 70 jeans and lee only has 7 pairs.
Interestingly, you can buy wrangler jeans for as cheap as $14 but the cheapest in Lee starts from $24.99 though $14 is the price for boys in wrangler, for men the starting price is $24 which is still $0.99 less than the Levi.
Whereas Lee wins on the premium side because as you know lee has over 6 above $200 jeans while wrangler does not have any. Now, do you want to know to which extent lee and wrangler are the same and trust they are similar on many points due to being owned and controlled by the same company?
If you look closely at both websites then apart from a few differentiations, both give us the same look and feel because Lee and Levi use the same theme to create their website so it offers the same functionality and tastes overall.
Shipping Address Is Same
I ordered Lee and Wrangler jeans on the same day and received them from the same courier guy because both get delivered by the same shipping company. Now, this incident made me think about the brand’s connection so I checked their product and wrote interesting questions about wrangler jeans and how to identify real wrangler jeans along with this article. Now during the process, I noticed a very common yet shocking detail.
Both of the jean is sold by the same retail store, I thought that name could be the same for two retail stores although what made me wrong is their address – ditto!
There are many more similarities and differentiations between Lee and wrangler – jean-wise so, I am creating a separate Lee vs Wrangler article just for the purpose. I will update you once it is ready to publish. (Update: currently testing rigorously both brands!)
Are Lee Jeans Truly Sustainable?
Things that account for Lee’s sustainability:
- Has a designated column for eco-friendly clothing where every piece of garment either uses organic or at least 20% recycled materials.
- Lee Indigood denim uses foam dye instead of traditional dyeing which results in a reduction of water, chemical, and energy uses.
- Back to Nature jeans and jackets are designed in a way that they will naturally biodegrade over time and go back to earth.
- By 2025 lee wants:
- To power 100% of their owned and operated facilities with renewable energy
- Increase Indigood dyed products every year
- Using more than 50% sustainable synthetics
- To source, 100% recycled or sustainably grown cotton.
- By reducing physical prototypes by 30%, Lee claims to save water that 72,000 Americans use in a day and reduces carbon emissions equivalent to 1 million miles of passenger vehicles.
Lee has some good visions to manifest till 2025, if succeeded the brand will be closer to divine sustainability.
Do Lee Jeans Have Any Slogan or Tagline?
Lee is working on their attractive tagline since 1982 by using a new tagline “The Brand That Fits”. Since then they are constantly using taglines/slogans to promote and describe their efforts with captive words like “Beat ‘Em All”, “Move Your Lee”, “Own The Moment”, “A Lee Never Ages”, and “The Jeans That Built America”, “A Lee Don’t Lie”, “A Lee is You”, “Behind The Scenes Since 1889”, “Over 125 Years Of Craftmanship”, etc.