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.)

The Sukajan

You’ve come a long way, baby. From humble souvenir to runway sensation, the sukajan has enjoyed quite the ascent. This letterman-style embroidered bomber, often sumptuously decked out in tigers, koi, dragons, and cherry blossoms, has its origins in WWII, when troops who had served in Asia wanted a memento of their time overseas.

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They’ve since become something of a staple tourist buy, the province of countless thrift shops stateside when their novelty wears out. (Some may also remember the sukajan Katy Perry wore on the cover of her “Roar” single.) But with the Resort and men’s Spring ’16 collections, designers proposed lavish versions without a hint of chintz.

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Chloé’s Clare Waight Keller spun a quilted take with blooms and prowling leopards, while Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri’s boasted a veritable ark’s worth of fauna, from frogs to the house’s famous butterflies. Men’s options were no less dreamy, like Kim Jones’ blush number with perching bird-of-paradise (courtesy of illustrator Gordon Flores) at Vuitton or Kris Van Assche’s lush white roses for Dior Homme.

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The bomber’s back in a big way. Now the only question remains: How will you wear it?
KateSource: Resort, Spring 2016: Style.com

Denim Flare

We spend a lot of time thinking about our denim.  Beyond just the perfect boyfriend fit or scoring a great pair of 501’s, there’s a lot to be said for making your blues… you.  We’ve nursed a longtime love affair with patches, whether new or deadstock, which has only been exacerbated since the advent of Instagram.

patches-F-2 We’ve been loving these seven – all of them for less than the cost of your Netflix subscription.  Stitch one on a jacket or go full-throttle with a bunch. Meet your new summer staple.

Mean Folk “Nice” patch, $5 | Spellcaster “Out of This World” patch, $5 Inner Decay “R.I.P. Feelings” patch, $6 World Famous Original “Whatever” patch, $50 Sick Girls Official “Bad Luck Babe” patch, $6 Rosehound Apparel Heathers patch, $6 Ball & Chain Co. “Life is a Gamble” patch, $6

Source: Style.com

Vegan Leather Boomin’

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$305.00 USD – Clutch – VivaCreatures

It was called “pleather” when Michael Jackson donned plasticky, synthetic leather in his early moonwalking days. It became famous for clothing rock stars and club kids in the 1980s.

Now it’s back with a new target audience and a new, appropriately hip name: vegan leather. And it’s a hit.

Demand for guilt-free faux animal hides is especially strong among millennial shoppers. They are more eco-conscious but also have been raised on fast fashion in which style trumps durability, analysts said.

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$450.00 USD – Jumpsuit – KAHRI

Luxe brands such as Stella McCartney and Joseph Altuzarra have sent vegan leather jackets and bags with sky-high prices down the runway. Major department stores are increasing their offerings.

“Vegan is a new phrase that has now become a catchword for entrepreneurs to start new businesses,” said Ilse Metchek, president of the California Fashion Association. “It’s so acceptable even in fashion magazines.”

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$149.99 USD – Jacket – TUCKBrand

The science of fake leather has evolved, too. It is still usually made by coating plastic on fabric. But as textile technology has evolved, mills can churn out materials that look and feel like close kin of the real thing but with a greater array of colors and patterns.

At the same time, more Americans are turning to veganism or vegetarianism — about 30 million adults, or one-eighth of the population over age 18, according to the Humane Research Council. Two-thirds of vegans or vegetarians say protecting animals is a big motivator for their diets, a stance that is seeping beyond the supermarket.

“People are seeing themselves more as conscientious,” said Leanne Hilgart, founder of Vaute Couture. “After food is fashion.”

Hilgart made headlines in 2013 as the first all-vegan fashion designer to show at New York Fashion Week. Vaute (a mash-up of “vegan” and “haute”) specializes in stylish outerwear free of leather, wool and all other animal products.

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$110.00 USD – Coat – Preppytrendy

The target customer is any trendy woman who would drop serious cash — $500 or more — on a coat, Hilgart said. Sales grew 60 percent last year compared with 2013.

The wealth of new options is a relief to Sarah Robles, 23, a “pescetarian” who eats seafood but not meat. Robles said she tries to avoid leather out of concern for animal welfare. Plus, faux leather options tend to be cheaper and require less maintenance, the actress said.

$229.00 USD - Nite Rider Bag - JungleTribe

$229.00 USD – Nite Rider Bag – JungleTribe

“Fake leather stuff is getting better and better,” she said. “It used to be just ugly knockoffs, but now I have so many cute shoes and bags, and they last longer than my real leather stuff.”

Retailers say they are still battling the stereotypes of shoppers who associate faux leather with the poor quality and pleather eyesores of decades past.

“We have all had the mind-set that it looks fake and shiny and doesn’t feel good,” said Ana Hartl, managing director of creative at Free People, part of Urban Outfitters Inc. A few years ago, Hartl said, she began noticing that some faux fabrics were virtually indistinguishable from the real thing. “People are genuinely shocked that it’s vegan,” she said.

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$125.00 USD – Shoes – RoniKantorShoes

Free People has more than doubled its vegan offerings since debuting its first collection in 2011. In the past two years it has launched vegan shoes and handbags. Vegan sales have surpassed leather in some categories, including jackets and vests.

Vegan leather also has been a hit for Los Angeles retailer Sole Society. It introduced vegan leather handbags a year ago, Chief Executive Andy Solomon said. They proved so popular with shoppers that now about half of its handbags are made of vegan leather. Sole Society hopes to increase that to 65 percent this year and is looking into vegan shoes.

“It’s a nice selling feature,” he said. “It gets folks over the hump to press the buy button.”

For more information check out our source, Star Tribune / LA Times / Free People