Levi’s Slump?

Levi Strauss, maker of the world’s most famous blue jeans, has said that sales of belts and other accessories are now growing significantly faster than sales of its denim clothing for the first time, amid stiff competition from the sportswear market.

The rising popularity of fashionable sports clothing, such as yoga pants, prompted a 5% slump in US jean sales last year.  “Every one of our categories outside denim is growing faster than denim,” said James Curleigh, president of the Levi’s brand.  Around 80% of sales still come from jeans, but Mr Curleigh said that the company was now working towards a 50-50 split between jeans and accessories.

Levi’s has recently relaunched its womenswear range and added more stretch into its jeans to respond to changing fashions.

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Levi Strauss is moving beyond jeans into Yoga

“We’ve launched more casual and more contemporary styles than ever, we’re back in growth mode,” said Mr Curleigh, speaking on the sidelines of the World Retail Congress in Rome. “No one traded their entire wardrobe for yoga pants,” he added.

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Mr Curleigh said that Levi Strauss was fighting back by attempting to harness the vintage clothing trend, rather than trying to compete with cheaper fast-fashion brands.

“Fast fashion helps drive energy in the sector, but what we’ve realised is the best you ever look in a fast-fashion item is the first time you wear it and then in a year it’s either not relevant for style or it’s lost quality. But in a pair of Levi’s the best you’re going to look is one, two, three, five, 10 years in the future,” he said.

Levi’s recently opened a concession in London’s Selfridges department store with vintage clothing specialists ReDone.  “I don’t believe that there is another jeans brand that will have been sold for $30 20 years ago that is now being sold for £250,” said Mr Curleigh.

What do you think about Levi’s current slump?  Do you believe it’s because vintage Levi’s are better than new Levi’s?  Why not head over to our London location or Etsy shop to browse our vintage Levi’s collection.  (Cause yes, vintage Levi’s ARE better than new Levi’s.  Why?  They are the most classic American trend.)