DENIM DISH

If You Can Make It There
Continuing on the urban nomad theme, Levi’s spring advertising campaign for the Silvertab brand features a group of youths trying to find their way through the wilds of New York.
While the location may seem a little less exotic than Morocco — the setting for the sub-brand’s fall campaign — Levi’s tried to use “some places that were a little less predictable,” said Jennifer Dorsey, marketing manager for Silvertab.
“New York is the best urban environment in the country, but we tried to go to some unexpected locales, rather than the heart of the Village,” she said.
Those locales included a Brooklyn rooftop and a pool parlor in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan.
The company declined to provide the cost of the campaign.
The print versions of the ads, created by TBWA/Chiat/Day and shot by Albert Watson, are running in March and April issues of magazines including FHM, Vibe, Honey, Jane, Spin, Maxim and a number of skateboarding and surfing publications.
In addition to the print ads, the campaign includes an interactive online component. San Francisco-based Levi’s launched a Web site at lostarcade.com featuring three computer games in which the player faces a variety of adversities that would be unfamiliar even to the native Manhattanite: an alligator invasion, a robot attack on the city and a parachute race.
The site is cosponsored by Atom Films, an online content provider, and Grand Royal, a record label founded by Beastie Boy Mike D.
A Levi’s spokesman said the company would continue the urban nomad theme for its fall campaign, saying that the ads — now being shot in an undisclosed location — will feature the West Coast hip-hop band Black Eyed Peas.

Brazil Cut
After waiting a few years for his name to take hold in the ready-to-wear business, Brazilian designer Tufi Duek is introducing his low-rise jeans to the U.S. for spring retailing.
Duek’s jeans have been a mainstay in their South American homeland, where they are sold under the Forum name, for most of the 15 years he’s been designing rtw. But the designer wanted to hold back on introducing them to the U.S. to give the rtw line time to gain popularity, explained Antonio Hasluer, the company’s director of sales and marketing for the U.S.
“The line has developed as a complete rtw line. We have a strong jeans business in Brazil, and we decided now that the line is anchored in the [U.S.] stores, we could expand and bring jeanswear into the U.S.,” he said. “We timed it so that we wouldn’t be just a jeans line.”
The jeans line, which sells under the same Tufi Duek label that the rtw carries, focuses on five slim-cut styles, with rises ranging from three to five inches. Hasluer said he believes two current U.S. trends — for low-rise jeans and Brazilian models — conspired to help build a little buzz for the launch.
“With the Brazilian models invading the American market, a lot of people were coming up to girls in the street and asking, ‘What jeans are you wearing,” he said. The Brazilian models’ answer, he claimed, was often Tufi Duek.
The jeans, which have begun shipping for spring, wholesale for $75 to $120, and Hasluer said the company is targeting the same specialty stores and specialty chains that sell its rtw to distribute the jeans line.
He’s also hoping that the new line will help the company to boost its $3 million sales volume in 2000 by 20 percent this year.

No Longer Tyte for Space
Junior sportswear firm 4Whatitsworth Inc. recently moved into new digs, nearly tripling its space.
The 30,000-square-foot facility, located in Commerce, Calif., houses the company’s executive offices and distribution center, as well as the design and production offices of its two brands, Tyte Jeans and Etoile Blue.
The company was previously housed in an 11,000-square-foot facility, also in Commerce.
“We’ve broadened the number of retail doors we’re in and as a result our production has nearly doubled,” said owner and chief executive officer Alden Halpern. “The only way to accommodate it was to move.”

Burlington Names New Exec
Burlington Industries Inc. on Wednesday named Harry Barto president of its Performance Wear division, filling a position that had been vacant since October, when Larry Himes stepped down.
Barto joins the Greensboro, N.C.-based mill from Rexam PLC, a maker of silicone-coated films and papers, where he served as president. He reports to Douglas McGregor, president and chief operating officer.
Burlington’s Performance Wear division produces wool and synthetic fabrics.

Doing the Math
Recently released figures confirm the denim category’s strong growth at retail last year, with women’s denim clothing accounting for much of the sales increases.
Overall sales of women’s denim clothing — including jeans and jackets — rose 5.7 percent on a unit basis last year, with girls’ denim clothing sales increasing 9.1 percent. This is according to data collected by the market-research organization the NPD Group, which was recently released by Cotton Incorporated.
The Cary, N.C.-based promotional organization for cotton growers also reported that overall denim item sales for 2000 grew 5 percent over 1999.
Unit sales of the largest denim category, jeans, grew 5.1 percent last year.
During the fourth quarter, women’s denim sales, which accounted for 31.8 percent of all denim sales, increased 2.8 percent.
Also during the fourth quarter of 2000, unit sales of denim bottoms — men’s, women’s and children’s — grew 4.9 percent, the organization reported.
On the retail front, 41.4 percent of denim jeans were purchased by consumers at mass merchants, the largest distribution channel for jeans, compared with 40.3 percent in 1999.
Also, 36.6 percent of women’s denim jeans were sold by mass merchants last year, while the corresponding figure for men’s jeans is 44.3 percent.