Lot 53: The Jeans More Aliens Prefer
As American as mom, apple pie and little green men, Levi Strauss & Co. is.
Or at least that’s what one might gather by watching “Roswell,” the WB network’s drama about a group of teenagers from outer space marooned in New Mexico.
Levi’s Lot 53 collection, an updated version of the San Francisco-based company’s classic silhouettes in varied colors and treated fabrics, is due to hit stores next month. The looks have been showing up on the program since January, when the cast was outfitted by Levi’s, according to a spokeswoman for the jean’s giant.
The show draws its inspiration from the alleged 1947 crash of an unidentified flying object outside the town of Roswell, which has kept countless UFO believers across the nation alive for the last five decades. The program’s premise is that aliens became stranded on Earth as a result of that incident and have adopted human disguises as an effort to fit in until they can figure out a way home.
The show’s alien heroine, Isabel Evans, played by Katherine Heigl, has adopted the Levi’s look as part of her protective camouflage. But — not to limit Lot 53’s appeal to the alien consumer — two of the show’s Earthling characters, Liz Parker, played by Shiri Appleby, and Maria De Luca, portrayed by Majandra Delfino, are also costumed in the style.
Levi’s bills its Lot 53 collection as “A fresh alternative to the overwhelming swarm of utilitarian cargo pockets and drawstring details that have all but invaded the planet.”
Roswell, which is in its first season, airs on Wednesday evenings.
Etoile Bleu Bows
In an effort to capitalize on the growing interest in coated and embellished denim, a new line called Etoile Bleu has sprung onto the scene.
The collection was started by a Los Angeles-based private-label resource called Tyte, according to Warren Chafetz, who is representing the line.
The Etoile Bleu collection includes about 30 jeans, pants and jackets, primarily made of Italian and French fabrics. The collection runs the gamut from basic blue and black denim, to shiny glazed looks and embossed animal-print coatings and glitter.
“The whole world is going into coatings and laminates,” said Chafetz, in an interview at the New York office he shares with sales rep Joyce Morton.
The line also includes a variety of pleather and fake animal skins. Chafetz highlighted a black denim with a coating that resembles leather, made in both jeans and a motorcycle-style jacket.
Reflecting its French name, Etoile Bleu also offers jeans in a French conversational print denim, with images of the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe.
Wholesale prices run from $49 to $104, Chafetz said, with most items falling between $50 and $60. Chafetz is targeting specialty stores, starting in the Chicago and New York markets.
DKNY Jeans’ Spring Break
In an effort to wrap college students in its marketing embrace, DKNY Jeans has signed on as a sponsor of Spring Break Escape, an event to be hosted next week by Rolling Stone magazine and Ecampus.com
The seven-day event is set to kick off Monday as planeloads of university students arrive at Mahogany Beach, Jamaica, for their annual pilgrimage to sunnier climes. A DKNY Jeans spokeswoman said the event would offer the brand a chance to reach its targeted 17-to-24-year-old audience outside of the urban settings typically associated with DKNY.
In addition to passing out as much swag as it can, DKNY Jeans plans to sponsor a number of events at the Escape, according to the spokeswoman. It will be hosting morning and afternoon boot camp-style aerobics classes on the beach, where it will pass out fatigue-style stretch tops and cargo pants. There will be yoga for the less ambitious.
The highlight of the week is to be a Thursday afternoon concert by rappers Kid Rock and Uncle Kracker, as well as the Christian rap-rock group P.O.D. — the name stands for Payable on Death — who will all be outfitted by DKNY Jeans.
Other DKNY Jeans-sponsored events scheduled include a barbeque and fashion show, the spokeswoman said.
Ecampus.com is an online retailer of new and used textbooks.
Happiness Loves Company, Too
Coming off a year that saw an overall 3 percent volume increase, consumer demand for jeans remains solid. That’s what is drawing more players into the game and making the denim market more competitive.
This is Jeanswear Communications’ current assessment of the state of the denim business, in a report recently issued by the organization.
The report, titled “Y2K Outlook: Good But Crowded,” contends that “there have been some major changes in the way the total pie is being carved up at the manufacturing and retailing levels. Also, the jeans business remains so strong against almost every other segment of apparel that everybody and his brother or sister is trying to get into it — particularly if the sibling in question happens to be a designer.”
The organization said the rush of new brands and designers into the jeans business over recent years has led to the tough times traditional top jeans companies have felt of late.
The report also emphasizes the growing importance of fashion jeans over basic five-pocket looks. Among the trends it predicts will continue through the year are fashion bodies such as cropped styles, low-rise jeans, ankle-zip capris and surface treatments like dirty washes, coatings and embroidery.