Preserving Levi's Historical Denim With 3D Laser Scanning Services

Company Creates a 'Virtual Vault'

It took one month and 12,000 photographs for the Levi Strauss team to bring Levi’s vintage denim collection to the virtual world. The company’s “virtual vault” was the company’s first foray into the digital realm—a move that historian Tracey Panek, head of the Levi Strauss & Co. archives, regards as long overdue. 3D laser scanning services help digital creators by capturing thousands of pictures at a rapid speed. 

Levi’s “bridged the digital gap” in 2014 with the project’s launch, which included the company’s full physical collection of denim artifacts in a virtual world, making the designs available to creative individuals. Panek discussed how innovation has been a driving factor in bringing time-honored Levi’s garments into the current day. 

Fashion and 3D Laser Scanning Services

3D scanning services have entered the fashion world and helped create a bridge between historical clothing and allow people to view it every day. Without 3D laser scanning services, many fashion-lovers would never get the chance to view historical denim up close. 

Prior to the virtual vault, to see the collection, you had to visit Levi’s headquarters in San Francisco and either possess the archive team’s information or consult our binders, which were often filled with handwritten notes. It wasn’t the best way to view the historical denim, and that is why something needed to be done. 

Uploading this denim with the help of a 3D laser scan allowed Levi’s to create a virtual space. On top of that, it allowed them to add readable notes. This means that anyone who viewed the denim virtually can understand the history better. 

The virtual vault endeavor included painstakingly photographing each garment—front, back, and bird’s eye view—and classifying them by bottoms, tops, denim, and non-denim and grouping them by decade, starting in the early 1800s. 3D laser scanning services help this process go much quicker because it is faster than any human could ever be. 

Levi’s iterated this digital migration from there. The business updated its virtual archive to 3D last year. The archives team chose five of the company’s first clothes and shot them on a turntable-mounted mannequin. Products were photographed in 20-degree intervals until a 360-degree image was obtained using 3D laser scanning services. 

The result was a 3D picture of some of the brand’s first items “modeled” by an unseen mannequin, highlighting all of the garment’s distinctive characteristics in a manner that a flat lay photograph cannot.

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