L e v i s H e r i tag e
‘ T h e h i sto ry o f l e v i ’ s ’
d e s i g n co n t e x t
www. l ev i s .co m / h e r i t a g e
St e p h a n i e o g l e s by
EVERYONES WORK IS EQUALLY IMPORTANT In 1853, the California gold rush was in full swing, and everyday items were in short supply. Levi Strauss, a 24-year-old German immigrant, left New York for San Francisco with a small supply of dry goods with the intention of opening a branch of his brother’s New York dry goods business. Shortly after his arrival, a prospector wanted to know what Mr. Levi Strauss was selling. When Strauss told him he had rough canvas to use for tents and wagon covers, the prospector said, “You should have brought pants!,” saying he couldn’t find a pair of pants strong enough to last.
Levi Strauss & Co. has been innovating since 1873, the year we created and patented the world’s first blue jeans. And while that patent has long since expired, our commitment to innovation continues. Throughout our long history we’ve inspired change in the marketplace, the workplace and the world. We invite you to take a look at our proud heritage. In 1873, Levi Strauss & Company began using the pocket stitch design. Levi Strauss and a Reno Nevada-based Latvian tailor by the name of Jacob Davis co-patented the process of putting rivets in pants for strength. On May 20, 1873, they received U.S.Patent No.139,121. This date is now considered the official birthday of “blue jeans.” Levi Strauss asked Jacob Davis to come to San Francisco to oversee the first
manufacturing facility for “waist overalls,” as the original jeans were known as. The two-horse brand design was first used in 1886. The red tab attached to the left rear pocket was created in 1936 as a means of identifying Levi’s jeans at a distance. All are registered trademarks that are still in use. Levi Strauss had the canvas made into waist overalls. Miners liked the pants, but complained that they tended to chafe. Levi
Strauss substituted a twilled cotton cloth from France called “serge de Nimes.” The fabric later became known as denim and the pants were nicknamed blue jeans.
co n c e p t sto r e to kyo
Pac kag i n g
‘ Levi’s XX VINTAGE’
various projects and designers.
BE TRADE LEVI’S 501
Paying a lot of attention to the retail outlet of the brand. With a vintage ambience that pays homage to the rich history and strong concept which has been the core of the label, this makes for a must visit if in the area.
LEVI’S TRUCKER JACKET CRASH BOX
LEVI’S ENGINEERED JEANS 10TH ANNIVERSARY
Ben Phillips ‘Made And Crafted Shop’ www.refinery29.com/levis-made-and-crafted-shop-san-francisco
d) The Levi’s flagship in San Francisco is saying hello to 2012 with a makeover of sorts, thanks to the addition of the first ever fully actualized Made and Crafted concept space.
Envisioned by Ben Phillips, the Global Brand Presentation Manager for Levi’s XX, the new permanent shop-in-shop on the first floor of the company’s Union Square store is a place that showcases the higher-end line, along with select thirdparty goods that share a similar design sensibility. Filled with Levi’s top-tier garments, such as short-run, hand-finished Italian leather jackets, cashmere-cotton blend knits, indigo-dyed button-downs with buffalo horn buttons, U.S.-made denim, beautiful leather totes, and more, this
shop is the first of its kind “in the world,” says Phillips, who gave us a first look around the space. “On one side of the first floor, you have a section devoted to the evolution of the 501, starting in the 1800s,” he says. “And on this side, it’s all about the next chapter for Levi’s.” The impressive space, filled with hand-crafted everything, courtesy of Phillips and local furniture-maker Sebastian Parker (he did the interiors at Bar Agricole), features custom furniture and lighting, rugs made out of hand-knotted strips
LEVI’S 686 THE TIMES EDITION
of vintage Levi’s scraps, plus cool curated goods and gifting items like Japanese stationery, high-quality graphite pencils and erasers, memo pads, locally crafted In Foire perfumes, wallets, scarves, and other accessories by Black Sheep & Prodigal Sons. Take a virtual tour of it all after the jump.
LEVI’S OPENING CEREMONY SWING TICKETS
h) LEVI’S THE DEPOSIT
I LOVE DUST NIKE/ LEVI’S LTD EDITION
i) LEVI’S 686 SUPERNOVA BOX
Photographed by Gina Esposito
LEVI’S 501 DENIM TOTE BAG
CHEC K LAND K INDLEYSIDES
T BWAT E Q U ILA HONG KONG
‘ LEVI ’ S f l ag s h i p STORE lo n d o n ’
Our design expertise is driven by creative and insightful solutions, born from a spirit of collaboration with our clients and a passion for the power of good design. We like to realise unique and relevant expressions for brands, helping them create a compelling conversation with their customers and colleagues. We have a culture of collective responsibility and a creative freedom which encourages dialogue and a sense of togetherness. The leadership and management of the company is overtly an expression of our independence. Our passion for consumer engagement has led us to invent new ways for brands to connect with existing and new consumers. We created one of the first brand-orientated Flagship stores in the world and pioneered the concept of the un-branded store, that has since been adopted by many brands worldwide.
The Levi’s Soundwash Laundry to promote its Square Cut Jeans was launched as an interactive brand and music experience that lets the audience choose their favorite jeans style and then ‘Soundwash’ the jeans to their favourite style of music. The TBWATequila Hong Kong campaign features special limited edition packaging and gift accessories, a special Soundwash Laundry pop-up store in high traffic Tsim Sha Tsui, a branded iPhone game app, website and online viral video featuring local music band âMrâ, providing diverse channels for the audience to engage with Levi’s.
Our concept re-establishes Levi’s position as brand leader in denim retailing. Since opening the store has delivered consistently high, double digit % like-for-like growth.
When we designed the original Flagship for Levi’s on Regent Street back in 1994, it was hailed as ‘one-of–a-kind’ and became hugely influential as a benchmark for global retail design. Our challenge was to reinvent the Flagship store to reflect retailing today, as the emphasis shifts away from the brand towards a more consumer focussed approach, which extends far beyond the confines of traditional retailing. Levi’s vast years of experience in manufacturing is embedded in their product and is implicit in every detail of the space. With factory inspired architecture, we looked to create a journey that would open up the brand’s world to the consumer in an authentic, engaging and culturally relevant way. This store offers Levi’s customers the ultimate brand experience. It’s visually captivating whist providing expert knowledge, product offering and storytelling. The environment not only connects Levi’s with its craft based roots, but also expresses their creativity and expertise in denim, in a way that makes it easy to shop and interact with the product. I loved the fact that the lower floor focuses on the core denim product, with some of the best jeans merchandising I’ve seen in years. Great stuff ... the brand is back - and hopefully for good” Mary Portas Shop! The Telegraph
Pick your favorite Sound Washing Formula, upload your photo, and start the Sound Washing Machine by shaking your phone. Challenge yourself and your friends, see how many pairs of New Square Cut Jeans you can Soundwash within the 30secs time limit!
The target group of teenagers is always on a look out for ways to express themselves: The styles they wear and the music they listen to defines more about them than most other things. The concept the Soundwash: A new invention that blended music with the traditional experience of classic American laundrettes to incorporate the target audience’s sense of fun and love of music, while also clearly communicating the new product launch. Echoing back to the iconic Levi’s advertising of the 1980s in which a man stripped to his underwear in a laundrette to wash his Levi’s, the Soundwash presented an interactive and engaging Levi’s experience using music as a way into the consumer’s hearts and minds. The American laundrette or ‘laundromat’ is a place of waiting, hanging around and more often than not, finding ways to kill time while your clothes wash. By introducing music into this setting, Levi’s created a place where shoppers actually washed their jeans in music, and by extension imbued their jeans with a something of the owner’s personality. The campaign was kick-started by a viral Soundwash video that featured popular local rock band MR. The laundromat was built inside a store, and the Soundwashing machines allowed consumers to select their own favourite music mix to Soundwash the new Square Cut jeans in Levi’s special formula. Sweets disguised as Soundwashing ‘powders’ complete with barcodes to activate the machines were distributed around Laundromat. Limited edition Soundwash packaging was tactically sold in controlled quantities in-store to regulate the traffic flow and increase the potential viral value of the experience. The Soundwash Laundromat idea was also extended online and with an iPhone app and a specially branded interactive magazine cover. Consumers were also invited to participate in a Soundwashing competition to win a pair of new Levi’s Square Cut jeans.
D J U LIAN S M ITH
‘Levi’s SIGNATURE Gift Card’
‘ G r a p h i c t- s h i r t p r i n ts ’
Full Frontal. Graphic, Too. Oct 20 2010
Joseph Lui Graphic Design / Banana Chan (Creativity International Awards 40 Retail Packaging Gold Award) The packaging such a shopping bag with folded jean inside. When you revealed the jean, the gift card will be found in the pocket of the jean, that the card were filled in three different colors and simple Levi’s buttons on each.
FI B RE ‘ r e d ta b lo o kb o o k s /s 2 0 0 9 ’ www.fibredesign.co.uk
D. Julian Smith is a graphic designer and a relative newcomer to the Levi’s® brand. Among his many responsibilities, designing graphics for T-shirts, the first of which we won’t see till spring. So how does Julian approach his work and make the end result “not just another graphic T?” Who better to expose his views than…Julian himself? By the way, when I requested a picture to accompany this Q&A, he provided the one above. He clearly favors anonymity. Unzipped: Okay, first question’s pretty basic: What makes a cool T-shirt graphic? What makes a bad one?
Julian: Cool is subjective - in my opinion a cool T is based on brand relevance, it depends on where it comes from and where it’s going. A bad T is a design that exploits current predictable pop culture art / design trends. I think a brand should represent its own original vision. I feel there is a loss of originality with all of collaborations going on today. With social transparency, comes the loss of mysticism. One brand aligning itself with another instantly categorizes their social doings. I would much rather see a brand expanding its vision thru its own lens rather than showing people who they are cool with. Again, its all opinion-based, no right or wrong here. Sometimes it’s not about the graphic, but more about the intent. U: Where does your inspiration start?
J: Tuning in to my surroundings, friends’ inspirations, having a good laugh, biking, surfing, music, really paying attention on what NOT to do, etc. At the end of the day, none of us really knows what we are doing. It’s all one big, unexpected, exploratory adventure. That is the greatest inspiration for me. Dad always stressed to me, “It’s all about the details.” I couldn’t agree more; it’s all about the details, thriving on the unexpected and taking risks. U: Have your ever had a design that you believed to be both inspired and amazing, only to have it spiked? How do you handle that?
J: Yes, more times than not. Being a designer for any brand comes with key responsibilities, to name a few: time, budgets, consumer needs, briefs, etc. It’s more about answering a need rather than creating a graphic that just looks cool. There will always be a compromise in design, especially the bigger the company is. Getting shut down on a design is standard. You just have to go back to the drawing board.
“Fibre’s design solution is as strategic as it is stunning – exactly what Red Tab needed”
(Adam Kakembo, Head Of Trade Marketing at EMENA, Levis Strauss Europe) Levi’s 501s come in 41 different finishes and 40 different sizes. It’s just one of over 300 products in the Levi’s Red Tab line book the product “bible” the company produces every season. In Europe they’re distributed in eight different versions adapted to each territory’s product, finish and size selection. No surprise then that in the past the bible hasn’t been much more than a technical catalogue, but Levi’s wanted to aim higher for Spring Summer ’09.
U: What role does innovation play in your work?
J: A lot, even when designing a T-shirt. In addition to the graphic, we have to consider the wash, fabric, fit, and ink, all the way down to the thread color. We work closely with our vendors to utilize new printing techniques and sustainable fabrics to experimenting with recycled indigo runoff water for garment dying. I like the idea of using innovation to make something last longer, or be different. I don’t want to wear a T-shirt that looks vintage, but isn’t. I think the equity in a T-shirt is about the life it has had, otherwise, it’s a fake.
U: You could have the perfect design for a t-shirt, but you’re at the mercy of how it’s merchandised in the store. What would be the ideal setting?
J: Building out some sort of unexpected installation would be the best possible way to showcase the art / design that lives on the T’s. By doing this we will be able to communicate the seasonal message of the graphics line, so people can connect to our ideas, rather than to just the T shirt. We are working on it… U: What kinds of statements do you want to make with Levi’s® graphics? Will they reflect our heritage? Are they modern and rebellious or artsy and abstract? J: We are in a unique situation here;. As designers we have the opportunity tap into the rich archive to celebrate the brand’s heritage -- using the artwork that has been developed over the last 150 years as the catalyst to push the brand forward with new methods of design.
Our goal is to push the brand graphically as much as we can, while staying true to our core messages of work wear, sustainability, pioneering and a having a strong seasonal concept. We are also working with the bottoms team to incorporate the graphics into their line as well. U: Since you’re relatively new to the Levi’s® brand, we won’t see your first T-shirt until Spring 2011. Can you give us a hint of what to expect? J: Most of our graphics were hand crafted with X-actos, tape, drawings, and a photocopier. In some of the T’s we wanted to create a “future heritage” look by using old ad’s from our archives in new ways. I don’t want to give too much away -- gotta have something to look forward to! Posted By: Cory Warren, Editor, LS&Co. Unzipped
Daan de Haan / marianne lock
‘ Levi’s pop-up closet’
‘we are all workers installation’
We were in New York shooting deconstructed product for this year’s Levi’s campaign, an amazing thing happened. Our account team let us know that a long-time design hero of mine, Stefan Sagmeister, would be stopping by for a meeting. With us. We were interested in doing a series of outdoor installations based on the meaning of work for the Levi’s Work Wear campaign, but the installations were proving to be overwhelming with all of the other campaign work to be done. So we wondered if Sagmeister, who had worked with Levi’s in the past, would be interested in the project. Turns out he was. And the ideas that he brought back were amazing. A true thinker and maker, he created a series of ideas that expanded the meaning of work, and expanded our concept of what the installations could be. The first two of the series have appeared in the world and I hope the the rest will soon follow.
Levi’s Europe wanted to promote their new collection to all the major fashion magazines and get exposure. So we sent them a direct mail. A personalized, handwritten, gigantic pop-up card, with a closet inside filled with the newest Levi’s collection. The closet was produced by Dutch designer Daan de Haan and illustrator Marianne Lock made the pop-up card alive and writing a personal message on them.
Levi’s Cubes, San Francisco These cubes featuring Levi’s campaign slogan “We Are All Workers” were installed on San Francisco’s Market and Powell street. During thirty days illustrator Jason Polan would draw onto the cubes, depicting pedestrians and anyone who wanted a portrait, slowly filling all the cubes with his drawings. Levi’s Billboard - “We Are All Workers” The Levis billboard illustrates the notion of “We are all workers” by constantly breaking down and rebuilding the typography placed on actually turning cogwheels. New Yorkers loved the concept and many had themselves photographed in front of it.
Wieden + Kennedy Portland ‘ Levi’s Go Forth’ http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2009/june/levis-go-forth
Wieden + Kennedy Portland has launched a new campaign for Levi’s, titled Go Forth, which draws on the brand’s heritage as the quintessential American jeans.
The Levi’s brand has been incoherent in the last few years, having lost the strong position it struck in the 80s and 90s. Much of its recent advertising – particularly BBH’s Dangerous Liason ad directed by Ringan Ledwidge – has tried to inject some of the sexiness previously associated with the brand by referencing its history, and Go Forth, the first campaign from W+K Portland for Levi’s, is ploughing a similar furrow. The campaign will run across TV, print, and digital (with the website launching tomorrow) and, according to executive creative director Susan Hoffman, wants to pay homage to Levi’s history, “but also to refresh and reinvent the idea of a pioneering spirit for the times in which we live”. These times are of course that of a recession and the spots feature a manifesto suggesting that one of the answers is to abandon suits and make a return to good ol’ fashioned hard graft (presumably done while wearing Levi’s jeans) – “I am the new American pioneer, looking forward, never back,” it states. “No longer content to wait for better times... I will work for better times. Cause no one built this country in suits.” The two TV spots continue in a similar vein, featuring works by US poet Walt Whitman.
Ryan McGinley is the photographer behind both the Levi’s print campaign, top, and the Wrangler’s one from Fred & Farid that recently won the Grand Prix in Press at Cannes. Despite this topical aspect, these new ads feel strikingly familiar. This is in part due to their success in tying in with Levi’s history, but, more worryingly, because of their similarity in style to the recent Wrangler campaign, which last week picked up Grand Prix in Press at the Cannes Lions festival. Wrangler stole a march on Levi’s with this darkly sexy series of ads, which feature the jeans only obliquely. So it comes as a surprise to find that W+K has chosen to work with the same photographer, Ryan McGinley, for its print work. McGinley is known for his loose, intimate style, revealed in photographs of friends he has taken over the last few years. While his shots for Levi’s are more light-hearted than those for Wrangler, they are distinctly his work – perhaps W+K and Levi’s thought its audience would not see the similarity? Or are they trying to reassert themselves over Wrangler? Either way, McGinley must be good for free jeans for the time being.
Published on May 30, 2012
levis heritage ‘the history of levi’s’ www.levis.com/heritage Strauss substituted a twilled cotton cloth from France called “serge de Nimes....