Lee Riders 101z 1966 Japanese Edition

Lee Riders Japan 101z 1966 Ltd Edition Presentation Box

Recently I’ve been concerned that my LVC 1955s are still massive despite being 34/34 and theoritically shrinking down to 33/31. They’ve shown no signs of shrinkage and consequently are a little bit Chaplinesque.

It seems to be a constant issue with LVC models of different years (not to mention the non-selvedge cheaper PWR models) that sizing is a minefield.

Rather than buy yet another pair in another size (there’s no 33 W these days anyway) and shell out a whopping £215 (not long ago they were £110 at Cinch) I thought I’d look around at alternatives.

White Selvedge

Normally I have a big psychological problem with jeans that are not Levis. I can’t be doing with all these brands that have overkill stitching or paint on the back pockets. By the same token jeans with no stitching on the back pockets are IMHO naked and missing something.

The obvious place to look was Lee. Huge in Japan, from where I’ve bought Lee Japan replica chambrays before, for a long time the Lee back issues available in the UK were really naff also rans (check out the 101z on Oi Polloi currently with a black and silver patch!). I’d seen the Beatles replica 101z 1966 model online a lot over the last few years but when I decided to find some almost everywhere was sold out.

The Beatles connection was played down outside of Japan for obvious licensing reasons but anyone who’s seen Help! will know that it’s the closest the fab four got to wearing American ivy based clothes – button downs and jeans abound, especially in the sections shot in the Caribbean.

This post over at denim psychopath MHP’s Denim Projects convinced me that the shrinkage and fit should be somewhat slimmer than even the 1966 LVCs.

The only place I could find them was at Aero Leather in Scotland, where I’d been browsing recently looking to order a 1938 A2 replica for that Robert Cummings in The Saboteur look.

At £120 they were nearly half price of current LVC models and the attention to detail up there with the best. The jeans arrived in a presentation box with tissue wrapping showing the history of Lee Jeans and with even a price tag blank that looks liked a deadstock one. The fit is great, the colour too, and the Lee dry denim (13.5oz Left Hand Twill) is more iron-like than the fluffier Levis 1955s (more like the 1967 505).


Eagle-eyed observers may have noticed that these are not quite what they seemed (or indeed were described as on Aero Clothing’s website). I was just checking them out again and noticed on the inner tag it says Made In Poland. So, these are not Lee Japan after all. Very naughty Aero. I’ve sent them an email asking why they are selling them as

“Lee 101Z Jeans 1966 – Dry

Lee Riders 101z 1966 Model by Lee Japan.

13½ oz left hand twill selvedge denim.

Limited Edition of 1001.”

Interesting to see what their response will be. I’ll keep the jeans as they’re still very nice but can’t say I’m too happy about the mis-described sale. I have read only good things about Aero customer service, so let’s see.

Lee Jeans History
Two Color Cotton Stitch
Vintage Stock Ticket
Correct Lee Label and Bar Tacked Corners


  1. I was just in the middle of writing my comment and it went all weird and disappeared! Probably my mouse. Anyway, I noticed the 1966 Lee 101Z from Aero Leather were Polish. The story I’ve pieced together, which might well be apocryphal and which isn’t from Aero Leather, is the Polish 1966 101Z are Lee Japan in the sense the design is Lee Japan. Hmm. They’re great jeans but fact remains they’re certainly not the limited edition Lee Japan as advertised. Great blog (I’m the person you helped out with your incredible playboy boots knowledge).

    1. Thanks Paul, I’ve still not heard a thing from Aero Leather to explain why they’re selling Made n Poland Lee as Japanese Ltd Edition. I’ve sent them two emails, both to 2 different addresses. I also tried to use their ‘contact’ form on their website but it just says ‘error’ when submitting each time. You’re right the actual jeans are great and I’ll be keeping them but selling them as Ltd Edition is seriously wrong.
      I certainly won’t be ordering the A2 I was planning to buy from them!

  2. Well i think the denim is Japanese (Kaihara?) and they are sewn together in Poland.
    The Jeans are of good quality if you ask me. I can´t spot any difference from “made in japan ” Lee jeans.

    1. There’s nothing wrong with the jeans per se, Thomas, but Aero Leather is selling them as Made in Japan Limited Numbered Edition. And then they’re shipping something that it isn’t that and then not even bothering to respond to emails asking them to explain why.

  3. I bought a pair and they are really nice,just have them in the box.Will be used in future.Anyway I guess made in Poland sounds bad ?? Polish,Japan,USA doesnt matter the pants are just cool and very well made.

    1. I agree Magnus – just don’t think Aero Leather should be selling them as Made in Japan Ltd Edition let alone not responding to customer emails. I kept my pair too, they are great jeans!

  4. Hi, just discovered your site. Very impressive. Re-the jeans. I don’t particularly care if they are made in Poland or Japan or USA, if they are made to vintage US standards. Though I agree it is mis-leading to call them Lee Japan , when they are made in Europe. What disappointed me was that they did not have a chain stitched hem. Chain stitched hems hang better and all vintage Lee Jeans , that I have seen ,have a chain stitched hem.
    The denim and most of the other detailing is very impressive and at £120 the price is reasonable in comparison to the astronomical LVC price increase.
    Most of the vintage Lee stuff is made in Japan by Edwin , but some of the items are made in China. Confusing,

    1. Thanks Michael. Am in agreement with the jeans comments (and those made by others). It’s more about online retailers who don’t have proper customer support or consciousness of what’s actually on their site. I still can’t believe that no one responded from Aero Leather Clothing. I had planned to buy a 1938 A2 from them in January but that kind of soured the deal for me.

  5. I bought these jeans from the Son of a Stag store last xmas. The colour is excellent and I love the shape and position of the back pockets. I also own the 1955 101 z, but I prefer the fit of the 66s as they are slightly slimmer plus they don’t make my bum look weird!

    I’m tempted to get them tapered though…

    Disappointed to hear Aero aren’t responding to your queries, they certainly never let me down…

  6. I was just looking at the Aero website and I remembered your comments. I saw their new Buckle-back Levis 501 at £95. The rivets on the back cinch look suspiciously cheap. Not Levis quality at all. I wonder about their source for these jeans.

    I got a pair of the “non Vintage small e” Selvage 501s in TK Maxx , the ones Oi Polloi sell for £95 (£39 albeit irregular but not mutilated like the old days . Still have the red tab etc) Excellent jeans much better quality than £95 ones that Aero are selling.

    1. Well spotted Michael. They look the same as the pairs I bought on US Ebay and just sold on FNB. I have no doubt whatsoever that the ones I had in my hands were not genuine. The idea that they could have been official Made in USA for that price is laughable really. The reverse of that care tag on my pairs had a spelling mistake that was a give away, but also the denim and the fact that they were the only 501s of any description that I’d ever seen in my entire life (going back to late 70s) that had TWO rows of orange or yellow stitch down the inside leg. It’s not clear from those photos on Aero website but nor was it on the images on the Ebay US listing I bought from. Without checking again, the images also look to be identical as the Ebay seller was using. Very suspicious I think.

  7. Sad that they should sell fake Levis. Not really fair on anyone who has bought them. I have had Aero jackets in the past,I still have one and it’s an excellent jacket. Maybe their best years are behind them.

    Maybe they could off load the jeans on the Aero wearhouse (sic) clearance ebay site.

    I hope you’ll be posting more on the site soon. Got to see the Gant “Yell Coop” shirts in Edinburgh. Nothing special for the price they are asking.

    1. No plans to stop blogging Michael, but I’ve been incredibly busy with work and a gallery showing I had of photos and just had zero time to post anything. Plus I will be in Argentina for a few weeks so nothing until I get back!

  8. Hi
    Anyone got any ideas where I’ll find a pair of these? They seem to be rarer than hen’s teeth these days! W34 L32

    1. Shame, I ended up selling these Kathryn new and in the box, as they were too big for me. I couldn’t find a replacement either, ended up with LVC 1967 505s.

  9. I just happened to purchase these jeans from a British seller on eBay. They just arrived two days ago and to my dismay they do not fit me very well. Although they’re an amazing pair of jeans and denim, I honestly don’t know what to do with them anymore. I was hoping to use these once I headed off to college next month but that probably won’t happen anymore. If anybody has some tips on how I can make them fit or if they’d mind buying them off of me, just hit me up. Size 32 x 34.

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