Redefining denim for Levi’s 501 Day

“Our inspiration comes from the heart of India and the outpour of emotions by talented truck artists on their beloved trucks. It’s almost as if the Indian highway is a moving art gallery,” says Farid Bawa of All India Permit while talking about his artwork for Art&Found’s collaboration with Levi’s for the 501 Day – the birthday of the very first blue jean.

Over the years, Levi’s India has worked with many established artists. However, this time around, they wanted to hand over the canvases of their denims to young, emerging artists for them to showcase their self-expression. Art&Found consistently strives to be a resourceful community of and platform for talented young artists of the country. So the collaboration became a perfect opportunity for 25 talented artists to experiment and express themselves.

The artists who were a part of the art exhibit include
Aaquib Wani, Avinash Jai Singh, Ketu Velani, Hansika Sharma, Madhav Nair, Mayur Mengle, Sanskar Sawant, Anuj Sharma, Poorva Shingre, Mehi Shah, Farid Bawa, Lipi Ganatra, Dhaara Kumar, Shubhika, Rajlakshmi Pandit, Shweta Malhotra, Gaurvi Sharma, Allia Al Rufai, Sahiba Madan, Shachee Shah, Manasi Mehan (Saturday Art Class), Dhwani Pahlajani, Darshini Dalwadi, Sajid Wajid Sheikh, and Snehal Shinde.

So we had a mixed bag of artists who experimented with paint, screen printing, embellishments, embroidery, typography, cyanotype and other interesting techniques.

Gaurvi Sharma, for example, worked with therapy concepts of ‘self-love’ and ‘healing’ by implementing a collage of patchwork and embroidery. Hansika Sharma unfolded her blue journey through elements of dots, lines, and threads with a specific colour palette and simple drawings. For Saturday Art Class, a unique social initiative where art meets education.

Artist Shweta Malhotra expressed a statement of defence against visual molestation in our country through bold, minimal graphic representation. She placed a pair of eyes at the commonly stared parts of a woman’s body. Farid Bawa, who we mentioned in the beginning, represented his artwork through colour, 3D lettering, and emotions of talented truck artists. “We tactfully used the phrase ‘Buri Nazar’ on the back pockets to ward off evil stares. And the use of the letter ‘L’ on the jacket gives Levi’s a unique truck art identity and the commanding eagle gives it mobility and flexibility,” says Farid. (All the stories behind these artworks are documented on our Insta)

All these stunning pieces finally came together in an art exhibit at the main 501 Day event held at Mumbai’s Famous Studios. Art&Found had also set up the Levi’s Tailor Shop – live stations of screen printing (Pritam Arts), block printing (Mitisha Mehta) and doodling (Prasidh Dalvi) as part of the the event. People could bring their pair of Levi’s and get them customised.

We need more brands like Levi’s who recognise the value of art and design in business. We have been fortunate to be a part of this growing movement in the country. Thanks to collaborations like Levi’s 501 Day, we’re pushing for the importance of moving design from pure aesthetics towards a problem-solving initiative and towards inextricably linking it with business.

Words by Art&Found Team


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