EXCLUSIVE: Justin Saunders’ Dad Inspired JJJJound x Levi’s

Easy does it for JJJJound, the Montreal-based design studio best-known for its ultra-understated aesthetic. Hence why its debut Levi’s collaboration looks like someone took the most normal staples out of their dad’s closet — in this case, JJJJound founder Justin Saunders’ dad — and made ’em a bit better.

The world’s most normal down jackets, anonymous crewneck sweaters, sneakers barely changed from the original, usually distinguishable solely by a quietly handsome colorway: that’s the JJJJound vibe.

It’s funny that a brand so obsessed with simplicity has generated such a rabid fanbase. Indeed, JJJJound has ridden a wave of IYKYK cool fueled by mere word of mouth and co-signs from a host of tastemakers for over a decade now.

Collaborations are key in building this hype, though they have to be approached organically, Justin Saunders told Highsnobiety.

“We approach them with a minimalist approach in the hopes of paying homage to an already thriving icon all the while giving them a subtly nuanced change making them feel collectible all the while wearable,” Saunders said.

“Our day-to-day is product-focused. We love products that have stood the test of time and strive to create product that will do so as well. Collaborations are a great way for us to cross-pollinate all types of conversations, ideas and backgrounds while using our partner’s strengths to the product’s advantage.

This is key in keeping JJJJound collaborations simpatico with JJJJound mainline, which is designed with the design studio’s own staff in mind.

“The main objective on all partnerships is first and foremost to create products that the Montreal office wants to wear,” Saunders explained.

“I can’t pretend I know what’s best for the world outside our ecosystem. We rarely build products with any other end goal than to keep the team stoked and excited to come to work on the daily, hoping these projects hit the mark.”

Saunders described Levi’s as “a goliath” and “inspiration” for his team, which is why he elected to design a line of ultra-wearable staples that tackle staple JJJJound shapes with what Saunders describes as the “Levi’s treatment,” available May 5 on JJJJound’s website.

“We decided to honor the 501®, utilizing the 93′ fit and combining it with core items from our own mainline collection; our utility jacket, buttoned shirt, weekend cap and T-shirt seen thru the lens of Levi’s.”

As usual, the devil’s in the details for Saunders. For instance, JJJJound’s take on the Levi’s 501® jean features a custom-washed selvedge denim, special copper rivets, and the Levi’s Big E logo tab on the rear pocket.

“For the most part, the 501 is an icon that doesn’t need to be changed whatsoever,” Saunders said. “Denim is a part of everyone’s life and is a must have in anyone’s wardrobe. [In particular,] Levi’s is a staple — it’s all my father wears to this day.”

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