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5 Visionaries Are About to Change Everything

The 501® jean. Worn since 1873. And never been better. To celebrate 149 years of the jean that started it all, we’ve teamed up with five visionaries from across Southeast Asia who champion the iconic spirit that the 501® brings to the world. This month, Diela Maharanie, Issa Pressman, Yung Raja, Sheena Liam and Pearypie (Amata Chittasenee) will show us how they make moves with one pair of customised 501® jeans that crosses borders.

These visionaries were tasked with adding their own creative touches to the same pair of 501®s, which travelled from Indonesia to the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and finally to Thailand. The end result? A one-of-a-kind denim masterpiece, made right here in our region (stay tuned on our Instagram @levis_singapore for the big reveal!).

We recently checked in with Diela, Issa, Yung Raja, Sheena and Pearypie to learn more about their customised 501®s, and how they’ve learned to embrace change.

DIELA MAHARANIE

INDONESIA • ILLUSTRATOR • @dielamaharanie

 

WHAT'S THE STORY BEHIND YOUR 501® DESIGN?

I was inspired by my own imagination of space travel, wondering if I could explore the universe beyond the Earth’s atmosphere.

 

HOW DO YOU EMBRACE CHANGE?

By making the best of it. I think as human beings, we have the skill to adapt to every change in our lives and try to have fun with it.

HOW WOULD YOU STYLE YOUR 501®️S?

I love adding little details like colourful buttons because it gives a fun pop of colour! It’s inspired by my own art: bright, fun and dynamic.

Diela is also the artist behind the vibrant “Spring Time in Denim Land” themed illustrations for 501® Day. Learn more about the Jakarta-based creative here.

ISSA PRESSMAN

PHILIPPINES • MODEL / DESIGNER • @pressmanissa

 

WHAT'S THE STORY BEHIND YOUR 501® DESIGN?

As I represent the Philippines, I wanted to paint something to do with me being Filipina. I thought about one thing I love the most about my country, and the first thing that popped into my mind were the sunsets we have. My artwork shows a play on different lines, movement and colours. If you look closer, you’ll see that I painted the word “PINAY” which means two things: One, a Filipina and two, me!

 

HOW DO YOU EMBRACE CHANGE?

By acting on it and moving with it. When you accept change, you are exploring and evolving, with an understanding that things from the past are to learn from. At the same time, we shouldn’t forget them as we progress.

HOW WOULD YOU STYLE YOUR 501®️S?

With a basic white tee or a black tank top. The whole basics-on-basics vibe is a clean and sleek look that I would rock.

YUNG RAJA

SINGAPORE • MUSICIAN • @yungraja

 

WHAT'S THE STORY BEHIND YOUR 501® DESIGN?

Authentic and free expression truly align with my spirit. I’ve chosen flora as my main inspiration, as I’ve always been moved by the grace and elegance of flowers. For my customisation, I’ve featured some of my favourite colours and vibes of flowers that I love!

 

HOW DO YOU EMBRACE CHANGE?

By understanding that it’s universal and it’s how everything operates. Contextualising the importance of change definitely helps.

WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR STYLE INSPIRATIONS?

Through hip-hop culture and the Tamil movies I watched growing up as a child.

SHEENA LIAM

MALAYSIA • VISUAL ARTIST • @sheenaliam

 

WHAT'S THE STORY BEHIND YOUR 501® DESIGN?

I wanted to customise a pair of jeans that I would personally wear on a day to day basis. Subtle, not too kitschy despite it being embroidery. My work is very body language-driven and hands have always fascinated me. There is something very intimate and emotionally transparent about hands; you can always read how a person is feeling. Here, I embroidered my own hands with the palms out, open to the audience. I surrender, this is me, take me as I am.

 

HOW DO YOU EMBRACE CHANGE?

I’m learning as an artist to go with the flow more and be grounded in my values and beliefs. I believe being open to change is being open to learning, and only by learning do we grow as people.

HOW WOULD YOU STYLE YOUR 501®️S?

I’d like a cropped or halter fitted with an oversized jacket and sneakers. Always sneakers.

PEARYPIE

THAILAND • ARTIST • @pearypie

 

HOW DO YOU EMBRACE CHANGE?

Embracing change is an opportunity to improve myself, be adventurous and try new things. I always believe in seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and knowing that I have the ability to do anything I want. No life is perfect, and the road to achievement comes with all sorts of twists, turns and dead ends. I enjoy the whole "learning and experimenting process" more than the outcome itself.

HOW WOULD YOU STYLE YOUR 501®S?

I’d break the norm by evolving the classic 501®s with Thai traditions. For the past four years, I’ve been learning how to weave and dye traditional Thai textiles with guidance from the local Thai communities. It’s been a fun journey experiencing their wisdom alongside today's contemporary culture.

Follow us on Instagram @levis_singapore for more updates on Levi’s® 501® Day.