By  on March 31, 2011

With nearly 160 years of history, Levi Strauss & Co. was easily the oldest brand in the room.

As much as the San Francisco-based jeans and sportswear giant likes to tout its past and its pioneering spirit, Robert Hanson views his imperative as president of the $3.5 billion global Levi’s brand quite differently.

“We are fixated on being a global beacon of creativity and innovation,” he told summit attendees. “We’re not where we want to be, but we’re fixated and hungry.”

In remarks titled “The Uniform of Progress,” Hanson returned repeatedly to Levi’s emphasis on creativity and how the company has sought to improve consumers’ lives through a combination of “global consistency and local relevancy.”

He cited Levi’s Curve ID fit system as his first example of products that deployed the company’s global resources. Compiling data from 60,000 body scans, the company developed jeans models that “come close” to custom-fitting 96 percent of women around the world.

When he asked members of the audience which categories of apparel women liked shopping for least, the response was immediate, nearly unanimous and ultimately correct — swimwear and bras. Jeans place third on this scale because, as with the top two categories, a woman concludes the shopping experience “feeling there is something wrong with her,” according to Hanson.

Levi’s put the focus on shape, not size, Hanson said, and offered models marked as Slight, Demi, Bold and Supreme Curve. “Curve ID was born as the new democracy of jeans and is resulting in share growth in most markets,” Hanson said.

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