A Tribute to the 1944 Levi’s 501, Samurai Style (Samurai S3000VX 17oz)

Among our favorite Samurai Jeans models is the unique S3000VX 17oz. Many fans of Samurai Jeans will recognize this pair from the unusually dope hand-painted pocket arches (typically Samurai Jeans uses the usual stitching pattern on the back pockets). This is by far one of our favorite features of this denim, but as you will see below, far from the only beautiful detail this perfect pair of raw denim has to offer.

S3000VX's Hand-Painted Pocket Arches
S3000VX’s Hand-Painted Pocket Arches


Not every model of Samurai Jeans admits so openly to being modeled after a denim classic, but the S3000VX 17oz is one of those that Samurai itself has proudly stated that is a modified repro of Levi’s iconic 1944 501 model.  Samurai Jeans took that classic for inspiration and vintage-built this high-quality spectacle made of dense 17oz denim. Of course, Samurai Jeans (unlike many of the Japanese jeans’ manufacturers), do not consider themselves a repro brand, so they inevitably had to make this model their own by adding several modern twists.

Relaxed Straight With a High Rise – Classic Vintage Denim Fit

In the middle of the 20th century jeans were considered to be workmen’s clothes. Relaxed cuts and high waist lines allowed people to do physical work without causing any discomfort.

The SAMURAI S3000VX do not deviate from this style and have straight relaxed legs and a high rise, typical of 1940s selvedge denim.

Thanks to the high rise, the S3000VX 17oz stay in place without constantly dropping (or showing your crack!). The cut and fit allow this raw denim specimen to go well with more traditional vintage-style tops (flannel shirts, for example) or with a simple relaxed T-shirt.

Raw Denim Fabric Designed to Maximize Fading Potential 

If you know Samurai Jeans, then you know they pride themselves in making jeans with amazing fading potential. This is not a coincidence: it is done by design. The fabric used for the S3000VX 17oz  is Samurai’s Zero denim which is one of Samurai Jeans’s oldest fabrics (but now quite rare in their line up), and which gives it the designation of “VX.” This denim is made of (mostly) Texas short staple cotton. What’s special about this fabric? It is one of the slubbiest, most flexible fabrics created by Samurai Jeans.

In addition, Samurai Jeans says that the dye used on this fabric is particularly concentrated indigo, which gives it a deeper/darker hue, but that during the rope dyeing process they ensure that the white center of the yarn remains as large as possible (i.e., keeping a deep, yet thin outer indigo layer) that enhances the denim’s ability to fade. Despite the fact that some people claim these jeans fade more slowly than some other of Samurai Jeans’ offerings, in reality these jeans will fade quite quickly, and due to the slubby fabric, will generate beautiful textured fades.

You can easily see the slubby texture and density of the dye
You can easily see the slubby texture and density of the dye



Samurai  is also known among Japanese jeans brands for it’s keen attention to detail… which results in – you guessed it – amazing details on their jeans. In the S3000VX 17oz  there are obvious details and hidden details, combining both Levi’s and Samurai styles.

The button fly is made with Levi’s style bolts which were common for jeans of the era – donut-shaped buttons with a symmetrical pattern, which in the case of Samurai Jeans contains traditional Japanese imagery plus their circular logo.

Now compare that to the 1944 501 Levi’s buttons: similar in style and symmetry but instead with a classic laurel wreath.


The inner side of the waist line is stitched with a chain stitch that stops purposefully before reaching the end.

In the inner side the fly buttons contain the Samurai Jeans logo.

The coin pocket does not have rivets.

Rivets are pierced with fabric sticking through them, a common detail on many Levi’s inspired jeans and Japanese denim.


And the inner face of the rivets is also custom, with “Samurai” written in Hiragana (one of the three Japanese alphabets).

Like much of the highest quality Japanese denim, this model also has hidden rivets on the back pockets.


The jacquard burlap is a bright red color and has a patch saying “Zero Denim 17OZ made in Japan”.

The front pockets have the same bright red lining.

The hem has a beautiful bright-yellow chain stitched detail.

Chain Stitching Around the Hem
Chain Stitching Around the Hem


And of course, the selvage ID is very special: red and silver thread. The red represents the selvedge color of Levi’s and the silver the one of Samurai Jeans – gracefully intertwined together in this pair.

Red and Silver Selvedge ID to celebrate the union of Levi's and Samurai Jeans' styles
Red and Silver Selvedge ID to celebrate the union of Levi’s and Samurai Jeans’ styles

You of course also have the iconic red tab, which both Levi’s and Samurai Jeans use in their denim.

Red Tab and Pocket Flasher

And this beautiful pair of Japanese denim is topped off with the leatherpatch reserved for classic models of Samurai Jeans, depicting two Samurais shaking hands in partnership.

Leather Patch


All in all, because of it’s iconic cut, it’s perfectly-placed details and extremely high-quality vintage construction, the Samurai S3000VX 17oz is loved by Samurai fans, repro fans and those looking for the next unique pair of perfect raws.

To check out more Samurai products, click here.



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