RETAILING: Rags to Riches (Really)

It is a select group of commodities that gain value with age and use: Rolls-Royces, Tiffany lamps−and now blue jeans. Faded Levi's, adorned with embroidery or applique, are commanding designer-original prices at stores across the country. Manhattan's Lord & Taylor sells recycled and decorated jeans for $26 the pair, with matching jackets for $32; when new, the jeans cost no more than $10 each. A Manhattan boutique offers scraps of old Levi's fashioned into a bikini for $20, and next fall will sell a trench coat for $185. Saks Fifth Avenue stores in Atlanta, Beverly Hills, Boston and Chicago...

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