Since the inception of the blue jean in 1873, fashion pioneer Levi’s has evolved into a brand synonymous with strength, durability, and nostalgia. From the iconic laundrette commercial flaunting the brand’s signature sex appeal and starring former FACE cover star, the late Nick Kamen, to more recent campaigns that champion sustainability, Levi’s has universally ingrained itself into our sartorial lexicon.
As part of their ongoing initiative to “Buy Better, Wear Longer”, Levi’s has enlisted the talent of acclaimed TV presenter Maya Jama and British singer-songwriter Mahalia to front their AW21 campaign.
The video series looks at the common threads between generations, with the duo taking us behind the scenes into their “forever wardrobes”. You know, the pieces you love to wear over and over again. With a timeless capsule of durable denim and seasonal essentials, the pair delve deep into their shared love for garments that stand the test of time.
In this proper chinwag, the British music stars chat fashion inspirations, sound career advice, and reveal how Millennials and Gen Zs aren’t as different as we might think.
What is your first sartorial memory?
Maya: My mum loved the triple denim. Even a denim scrunchie, a denim shoe and denim hat! They definitely make for good throwback pictures if anything.
Mahalia: My mum would always dress me and my two older brothers in matching tracksuits and grey hoodies. I was the only girl so I’m not sure why she did that, it was definitely a lot to always be out wearing the same clothes as my brothers.
If you could go back and live in any fashion era, when would it be?
Mahalia: I would have loved to have been my age now, 23, living in the ’90s. When I was in school listening to Destiny’s Child and TLC, seeing them wear the really baggy Levi’s and the crop tops, that’s what inspired me. Where I grew up in Leicester, no one really got that! I really liked the ’80s as well.
Maya: I like the ’80s too, mainly for the hairstyles, the colours and the makeup flex. I feel like they were so expressive back then, and it was when people really broke the mould and went crazy with all the colours – there were no rules back then.
Tell us some of your biggest fashion faux pas growing up.
Maya: I used to wear jeans with a material skirt over the top. Also leggings and legwarmers, pedal pushers and a skirt. The double-layered skirts, they haven’t made a comeback yet but that style was definitely heavy growing up.
Mahalia: For me, it was the neon leg warmers, hand warmers and headbands, that whole era needs to stay away from me!
What’s one piece of advice you wish you knew when you were starting your career?
Mahalia: Mine would be to aim to walk through life and into every room with confidence. Even if you’re not feeling that confident, try and pretend that you’re that bitch at all times! When I was 18 and about to move to London, my dad told me that nobody is going to give you anything. And he was right, when I got here, I realised that I was the only person that was gonna go out and do shit for myself.
Maya: Don’t be disheartened by the noes… It’s really easy when you’re starting out to feel like you’re always getting turned down. The yeses don’t mean as much if you always get zipped through straight away! See it as, “that one wasn’t for me”, rather than “I wasn’t supposed to do that.”
And finally, any words of wisdom for future generations?
Mahalia: No matter what trajectory you’re on or where you think you’re going, just be nice at all points. You never know who you’re gonna meet on the way up.
Maya: Always be aware of what your goals are. It doesn’t matter if it’s massive or small, just have something that you’re always focused towards that you can go back to, and that will help you move forward – and yeah, be nice!
The full collection worn by Mahalia and Maya Jama can be purchased at Levi.com, via the Levi’s® 247 App, and in-store