Levi’s is introducing a new fit technology and subbrand on a global basis to its women’s jeans lineup this season, called Levi’s Curve ID, which adds the dimensions of curviness and shape to the conventional sizing system of jeans. Levi’s is banking on the launch to significantly boost its women’s business and is supporting the initiative with its biggest women’s marketing push in more than a decade.
This story first appeared in the August 9, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“We think this is going to transform the way women think about jeans,” said Robert Hanson, president of Levi Strauss Americas. “It is a proprietary new way of building jeans, which is based on shape rather than size.”
The launch includes three curve sizes: the slight curve, the demi curve and the bold curve. The designs are based on the difference between the measurement of a woman’s hip and seat, with a greater difference representing a curvier body type.
“Since we created our first women’s jeans 75 years ago, no one has changed the formula for finding the perfect fit,” said You Nguyen, senior vice president of women’s merchandising and design at Levi’s, adding the approach focuses on the curves of a woman’s entire body and not just her waist.
Levi’s believes the three shapes will cover the body types of about 80 percent of women around the world. A fourth fit, with an even greater curve differential than the bold fit, will be introduced in December.
Growing its women’s business is a key goal for Levi’s. Currently, 73 percent of the company’s overall business, which includes Dockers, is in men’s product, with the remainder in women’s and kids.
Levi’s hopes the Curve ID launch will increase women’s sales in its own stores to 40 to 45 percent of total sales, up from about 30 percent. Curve ID is expected to account for the majority of all women’s Levi’s sales, and the technology will expand into more fits, finishes and possibly other product lines.
Levi’s acquired anthropometric data from 60,000 female body scans in 13 countries to help build the ideal Curve ID fits. The initial Curve ID assortments include three styles for each Curve ID fit: skinny, straight and boot leg, each available in sizes 22 to 34. Each style comes in five to six finishes, for a total of 45 to 50 stockkeeping units.
In the U.S., the jeans sell at a premium to the core Levi’s line, with retail prices at $60 to $98, but lower prices will be added as distribution expands at the end of this year.
Curve ID is launching in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Brazil primarily in Levi’s stores, along with a few wholesale partners, including Urban Outfitters, Club Monaco, The Bay in Canada and Palacio de Hierro in Mexico. The remainder of Levi’s wholesale distribution will receive product beginning in December for a full-scale rollout. In Europe and Asia, the launch is currently in both Levi’s stores and wholesale channels.
The first Curve ID product began to appear in U.S. Levi’s stores in the last week of July. A Curve ID digital fitting room explaining the measuring process and the different body types suited for each fit will go live Tuesday.
The launch is being supported by an advertising and marketing campaign in major fashion monthlies and weeklies. The ads read in part, “All asses were not created equal.” Outdoor ads will appear in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto, Mexico City, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The online marketing effort includes viral videos on YouTube, a Facebook page and a partnership with the recently launched Glamour iPad app.