The coronavirus has not killed hard pants, at least not according to Dockers.
The Levi’s-owned khaki stalwart and Hollywood stylist Karla Welch are launching a second limited-edition capsule collection Tuesday with “Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams in Yosemite” vibes.
“Pants are still happening,” said Janine Chilton-Faust, global vice president of men’s design for Levi Strauss & Co, while admitting it is a challenging time for the bottoms-heavy brand as it is for the industry as a whole. “For a while, everyone was wearing sweatpants, but as time progresses, people are tired of being sloppy.”
Indeed, the Dockers x Karla collection is a step above workout wear but still utilitarian-comfy, with mega wide-leg cotton twill khakis making a very big pants statement.
In a palette of harvest gold khaki and sea pink, the collection also includes chino shorts, midi-length skirt, work shirt and oversize anorak hoodie with Japanese nylon lining and kangaroo pocket, as well as a shrunken, yak-blend knit lodge cardigan.
“It’s not too fashion-y and it’s priced well,” said Welch, who enlisted her husband, photographer Matthew Welch, and their teenager, Clem, to model the collection in a series of portraits completed during a socially distant family shoot at their cabin in Idyllwild, Calif. (The first collection was sold at a higher price point at Dover Street Market, but this iteration is being rolled out at prices under $250 on Dockers.com and xkarla.com.)
“The pants are based on a vintage pair of Japanese pants I bought ages ago. They are long and you have to tailor them yourself,” explained Welch, who has been wearing the style at home with her own xkarla T-shirts. “Karla wanted a little more drama…and that exaggeration brings it to life,” added Chilton-Faust.
Like the first outing, this collection is gender-neutral, sized 1 to 4. “The rules are no longer as rigid and it’s exciting,” said the Levi’s designer, adding that her team is interested in exploring the idea of non-gendered clothing more broadly in the future: “There’s lots of room to play, and experimentation in fashion is growing.”
Welch is the celebrity wardrobe architect for Tracee Ellis Ross, Busy Phillips, Elisabeth Moss, Cleo Wade, Justin Bieber and more. She is as well-known for her Democrat-leaning political posts on Instagram, where she has 274,000 followers, as for her tomboyish style, which she has lent to collaborations with Levi’s, Express and Hanes, and to her own xkarla basics line. While there is no Hollywood styling work at the moment due to the pandemic, she has been keeping busy with her online styling platform for the public, Wishi, and a final collection with Levi’s that will bow in November.
And even though the red carpet may be dormant, Chilton-Faust still believes stylists like Welch have currency: “Even more so…There may not be any big events but there’s so much going on through every kind of media, including social…Brands are leaning into people who can influence and have that authentic voice. [Karla] is authentic; she has the voice and it’s not just about fashion, those are people who are being paid attention to.”