Within the last edition of Milan Design Week, Levi’s presented Connubia Reef by Levi’s, a new limited edition denim armchair produced together with Calligaris’ Connubia furniture brand.
The special edition model launch will be celebrated within the Bump Into Blue series of events in a recently opened pop-up store in via Capelli 1 for the whole Milan Design Week between 7 and 12 June.
The denim that "dresses" the chair is 100% made in Italy and supplied by Candiani Denim, a long-standing supplier to Levi’s, and produced by using sustainably sourced cotton and water-saving techniques and.
The armchair is available in a limited edition exemplar of 100 pieces in one denim variant and wash only to be sold at €990.00 exclusively through the Connubia.com.
The SPIN OFF spoke with Diana Dimitian, SVP managing director South Europe, North Africa, Levi Strauss & Co., about the brand’s participation at Milan Design Week and its future targets and projects.
We are delighted to take part for the first time as a brand in the program of Milan Design Week, one of the most important and exciting cultural events in the world. We are proud to take the stage with this environmentally responsible collaboration together with Connubia, a young brand that shares and supports our same values and passion for sustainable products and processes.
Will you launch more design objects or new special responsible products?
We are now living a special uplifting moment as we are coming out from a pandemic. We at Levi’s stand for innovation, and we liked the possibility to celebrate this collaboration by opening a cool pop-up store in via Capelli 1, near Piazza Gae Aulenti, that will remain open until January 2023. We liked to be here in a unique fashion capital as Milan, and collaborate to a 100% made in Italy project.
We are a fashion brand, and we are on a journey. We liked the possibility to create an object produced according to sustainable criteria, as we have been caring for our products for aspects like climate protection and being part of a community for long.
Among one of our most recent campaigns as the one we launched in 2021 there is ‘Buy better, wear longer’, a statement that underlines that Levi’s stands for quality and long-wear.
Tell us more about this strategy.
Many people have stories about how they treat their 501 jeans, almost like a currency, the older your jeans look the more valuable they get especially in these days of resell market. So, there are elements that when you buy a pair of Levi’s, it does last in your wardrobe longer and the encouragement to consumers they make conscious decisions of buying. I think we will continue with this type of messages.
For us, every season and every year there is progress in the waterless aspects of how we create our products. Obviously, apparel is a very wasteful market and making jeans used to waste a lot of water that it currently does not. Though, Levi’s has been focused on using Waterless techniques for many years and now products treated with that technique represent the majority of what we produce and what we are marketing in Europe. So, it’s a quick evolution, and it is more sustainable than before as we have also reduced chemicals by 95% and we calculated we saved 13 billion liters of water between 2011 and 2020. So, there are elements of progress.
We have also launched Wellthread, a line of jeans made with highly sustainable materials, and we also launched very new jeans made with Renewcell, a new material derived from recycling other jeans, that is much more sustainable than before, and we will be launching it in very fashion-minded cuts.
Levi Strauss president and CEO Chip Bergh has recently announced that Levi’s aims to reach a sales target of US$9 billion to $10 billion by 2027. As the company has closed the FY 2021 between US$6.4 billion and US$6.5 billion, how does Levi’s aim to reach such a target?
We want to become the number one global apparel brand. We rule denim and are a leader in denim. According to what was announced a week ago in New York to our investors, there is an appetite to grow more and more into head-to-toe, summer and winter, and in all category products - and especially for women.
We have also already started offering a vast selection of non-denim products, and we can surely progress in that. In addition to expanding in women’s apparel and in tops, we also want to expand in other categories like accessories, outdoor wear and footwear. During the last edition of Paris Fashion Week we also did a collaboration with a very famous tattoo artist from LA, Dr. Woo, for the launch of a new sneaker collection.
What about distribution? What strategy will it follow?
The company will accelerate investment in stores, online platforms and other digital capabilities, while creating an integrated omnichannel shopping experience, which is expected to profitably drive direct-to-consumer to 55% of annual net revenues by 2027 while tripling the e-commerce business.
To support this growth, the company will continue to invest in digital, data and AI capabilities focused on increasing consumer loyalty, facilitating speed to market timelines and improving profitability. As part of this digital transformation, the company will also continue to upgrade its enterprise resource planning system and automate and digitize key processes.
We are getting near to a very special anniversary in 2023 when we will celebrate the 150th anniversary of our 501 iconic jeans model. In 2022, for its 149th birthday, we have already kept special events in some international fashion capitals like, for instance, Milan and Madrid, but next year's celebrations will be huge. And this model deserves to be hyped as it continues to be our bestselling model. Only speaking of Q1 of 2022, it registered a 20% increase in sales.