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Oct 24, 2014
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Levi's aims to reconcile iconic pieces with current trends

Oct 24, 2014

It’s official: Levi's is focusing on its flagship pieces. With its current autumn-winter collection, the American jeans giant has put the emphasis in particular on its 511 model.

And next spring, it will turn the spotlight to its iconic 501. While in Paris, Jonathan Cheung, Senior Vice-President of Global Design at Levi's, talked about the sources of his inspiration for the beginning of next year. 

Jonathan Cheung, Senior Vice-President of Global Design at Levi's | Photo: Levi's

“In putting collections together, we pay attention to what’s around us,” said former designer of the line Made & Crafted. “What’s going on in Los Angeles, its climate and the people who live there are all sources of inspiration. For example, with the different washes we used on the 501 and on the shirts, the idea was to recreate a foggy morning sky over San Francisco that melds with a sunny day." 

The brand has largely reinterpreted the 501 for next spring. For example, it has come out with pair of 501 shorts for men and a pair of minishorts and skirts for women. "We look at what has already been done, but mostly we watch people. A lot of people, including myself when I was a student, changed modified the cut of the 501’s to have a narrower leg. With the 501 CT (custom type), we did exactly that." 

If next season will see a good deal of knits, chinos and accessories, it will nevertheless be centered on the brand’s iconic pieces, including the 501, the Trucker Jacket and the Western shirt. 

“The range has effectively almost been cut in half in the space of three years,” said the designer. “But we haven’t reduced the number of different styles. Actually, we’ve adapted them to specific regions, including Asia, Europe and the USA, which have their own collections, put together under a global direction. This has allowed us to choose the best product from each region and to consolidate all the highlights in order to release a better product.” 

The collaboration between Levi's and the San Francisco 49ers | Photo: Levi's

Something else that is new for next spring: a womenswear range included in the urban biking line Commuter, which was launched for men three years ago. Women will be offered hyper elastic jeans with reinforced seams and details specific to cycling such as reflective tape. "We’ve made progress since the launch of Commuter, simplifying our silhouettes. For example, for men, we removed a patch located at the crotch in order to improve the jeans. For women, we began with a few pieces (a parka, a jacket...) and we were able to make them stronger.”

Levi’s has adopted the same approach for sportswear, including skateboarding and a recent foray into another sport: American football. It’s an official sponsor of the San Francisco 49ers, the team’s home turf dubbed the Levi's Stadium. It has released a collection of Trucker Jackets designed especially for the team’s fans. "The initial results are excellent,” said Cheung. “This can be a real opportunity. One might even imagine a collection for PSG...We should talk to the club’s president."

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