New jeans combine fashion, technology

Abbey Stirgwolt

In 1873 when West Coast miners needed durable pants to get them through a hard and dusty day in the mines, Levi Strauss & Co. came to their rescue with the invention of blue jeans.

More than 100 years later, Levi’s has once again answered the cries of a needy sector of the public: the iPod carriers.

The solution – RedWire DLX jeans for men and women – will debut in Fall 2006 as the first jeans on the market designed specifically to suit the needs of the iPod-carrying population, Levi’s Men’s Publicity spokesperson Brett Anderson said in an e-mail.

“The jean is forward in both design direction and its iPod-playing abilities,” Anderson said.

One of the many innovative features on the jeans is an iPod “docking cradle” located in one of the side pockets, designed to “ensure that the unit be securely stored . . . while also minimizing the iPod ‘bump,'” Anderson said.

The jeans also feature a “conductive ribbon” which allows for unhindered access to the wearer’s iPod unit.

“This way they can remove the unit from the pocket and view its screen with uninterrupted enjoyment,” Anderson said.

Additional features include an external joystick in the jeans’ watch pocket, which lets users operate the iPod without having to remove it. A retractable headphone unit, “built directly into the jean,” is also included, Anderson said.

The jeans will retail for $250 and are compatible with “most iPod sizes,” he said.

In spite of RedWire’s innovative features, however, the jeans’ price tag hinders many Kent State students from being interested.

Freshman nursing major Kim Hess and her friends agreed that they wouldn’t be willing to spend the money for the jeans.

“Most people just put (their iPods) in their coat pockets,” she said. “Why would you need special jeans?”

The RedWire DLX isn’t Levi’s first attempt to mesh technology and fashion. In the late 1990s, the company collaborated with Philips Magnavox to produce a line of garments designed to house portable CD players. The line was available “exclusively in Europe,” Anderson said.

Contact technology reporter Abbey Stirgwolt at

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