Denim companies are struggling in the world of athleisure.
Teens are now buying more gear from Nike and Lululemon over denim classics from brands like Abercrombie, according to a recent Piper Jaffray survey on teen spending.
While Levi’s might be threatened by the athleisure trend, chief product officer Karyn Hillman is aggressively fighting to adapt, according to Fast Company.
And Levi’s is long overdue for a change.
Two decades ago, Levi’s was bigger than Nike, with revenue exceeding $US7 billion. Sales have since sagged to $US4.8 billion, while Nike is at closer to $US30 billion, according to Bloomberg.
After observing consumers, Hillman recently revamped Levi’s style by getting creative with new fabric innovations and developing an appealing ad campaign staring Alicia Keys.
The newest Levi product series — Lot 700 — is made of stretch denim that is designed to “flatter, hold and lift” — according to its ads. Adding comfort to jeans is what Hillman is going for.
“Comfort and feeling good are what wearers expect now,” Hillman told Fast Company.
One noticeable change to the appearance of Levi’s is the stitching, which is now more subtle. Previous jeans by Levi’s had a thick stiching that is now outdated.
Skinny, straight leg and slim-cut jean styles are fashionable right now, and Levi’s is focusing on the trends.
Levi’s has released has looked into using comfortable fibres like Dyneema in its jeans. The brand also released a line of jeans with flexile coatings.
The brand is also advertising the Commuter Jeans, writing on its Facebook page that the pants are built for “mobility, comfort, and durability.”
The rate of growth in athletic apparel is soaring, even as American participation in sports declines, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Barclays estimates that the market will increase 50% to more than $US100 billion by 2020.
Meanwhile, denim sales fell 6% last year, according to NPD Group.
The new athleisure trend is the latest chapter in Levi’s identity crisis.
Levi Strauss reached its peak in the 1980s, but has struggled to reach that level of ubiquity sense.
Another trend challenging the brand is men favouring tailored pants over denim, The Economist wrote in July.
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