A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

its in the jeans …

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on April 20, 2007

I love the jeans I bought in Dubai. I love the way they look, love the way they fit, love the length. I even love the way they handle Lebanon’s washer – but – no – dryer laundry culture.

If the Levi’s Store had offered more 570s for sale in different shades, I would have bought one of each. This is something I learned from my mother: if you like a piece of clothing, buy multiples.

Its a very logical approach, but one that causes some confusion among my friends.

I thought that sweater was brown, one will say.

It is, I reply. But I also have it in black.

I could have sworn your handbag was navy, another tells me.

It is, I say. But I have the same style in a larger size in black.

Sadly the Levi’s Store had only one shade of 570s for sale.

I returned to Lebanon planning to order more from the states, but found to my horror that the 570 straight leg is a Europe-only style.

In the US, 570s are a relaxed man’s fit. ugh. I am not a man, and when it comes to denim I am not particularly relaxed.

So I turned to Lebanon, thinking that there must be a Levi’s Store here.

Strange. I couldn’t find any mention of one, although I did find a fascinating 1986 article on the difficulties of selling Levi’s Jeans in the Middle East, “Levi’s in Arabia“.

I asked G, who said: I think they’re banned.

What? I asked, my usual all-purpose and not overly intelligent-sounding response. Why?

Because of the Jew thing, Greplied. Its the same with Estee Lauder.

Levi Strauss is Jewish? I thought bemusedly.

Actually, he is. I did a little research (thank you, google) and learned that Mr. Strauss did indeed begin his life as a German Jew.

I also learned that he died in 1902, which makes him a bit old … actually, a bit dead, to have been much of a supporter of the Zionist cause.

I asked several other Lebanese I know about the possibility of finding “my” jeans here.

Er, no, one said, coughing delicately.

I don’t think so, another agreed, gesturing obscurely.

I suspect that the reason for the ban has more to do with the old Arab boycott on doing business with companies that do business with Israel that “Levi’s in Arabia” mentioned than with Strauss’ own religion.

However, the fact that the religious identity of a man who died before the second aliya was over means that 105 years later I cannot buy the jeans I want really steams my consumerist sensibilities.

Thank God for Ebay.

Yesterday I and my pouting inner shopper were delighted to find a white pair for sale from the UK:


I can’t wait to welcome them into my closet as part of the new Diamond Summer Collection – but I will have to wait a while.

And not just for Memorial Day, either.

When the seller asked whether I wanted them shipped to Beirut, I said: YES! and then immediately after: NO.

Its taken quite a lot of work to find this pair – I certainly don’t want to lose them to some over-vigilant customs agents.


2 Responses to “its in the jeans …”

  1. […] of you who follow my blog may recall that since March I have been drooling over Levi’s 570 straight-leg jeans, a brand banned from Lebanon and a European cut not available in the […]

  2. groovyjeans said

    I always noticed an unusually high amount of traffic on my jeans site from the Middle East. Maybe what you say is the reason why.

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