Buoyed by a denim resurgence that gave a sizable boost to its third-quarter net income, Levi Strauss & Co. is building momentum for its women’s business through a high-end capsule collection designed with denim Web site Jean Stories. Following an earlier collaboration between Levi’s and e-commerce sites Net-a-porter and Mr. Porter, the Levi’s x Jean Stories Collection is small in size but big on buzz. Totaling 100 pieces that retail for $250 each, it helps Levi’s to continue burnishing the halo on its 162-year-old brand.
Two months ago, the San Francisco-based company formalized a business relationship with Los Angeles’ Re/Done, which agreed to pay royalties for the secondhand Levi’s-branded garments it reconstructs to fit a modern woman’s body with contemporary styling. This fall marked the retail debut of Levi’s Lot 700 series for women in tribute to a style that it first unveiled in 1934. On Wednesday, the eve before the Jean Stories collection becomes available on Levi’s e-commerce, actress Jamie Chung, model Erin Wasson and designers Clare Vivier and Irene Neuwirth are among the guests expected at a dinner in Los Angeles to celebrate the collaboration.
“It was really fun to work on their spin and take on our new 700 series for women,” said Karyn Hillman, chief product officer of the Levi’s brand.
Since its launch in 2013, Jean Stories has racked up readers and fomented interest among denim designers thanks to its founders’ passion for all things denim. Jane Bishop is the daughter of Ron Herman, the veteran retailer who helped launch J Brand and a number of premium denim lines at the Los Angeles-based specialty chain bearing his name, and Florence Kane is Bishop’s former colleague from Vogue magazine. In the past year, their coverage included a tour of Levi’s Eureka Innovation Lab located on San Francisco’s Embarcadero as well as a Q&A with Hillman, who showed how to pair torn jeans with dark pumps and a cream blazer.
The latest endeavor for Bishop and Kane started with very raw denim at Levi’s two-year-old Eureka Lab, where wash experts are called scientists. Toting her favorite pair of jeans, which happened to be old Levi’s, Bishop chose the 721 High-Rise Skinny style as the base for a tear-and-wear pattern modified with mends. Kane went with the 711 skinny jeans to highlight a lived-in finish and frayed hem.
“They both look very different,” Hillman said.
In the current denim market, different is good. With access to various Web sites and outfits of the day on social media, consumers can try an array of looks.
“You can have a skinny jean look amazing and a boot cut and a straight,” Hillman said. “The range is what is interesting.”