Levi Strauss and Company has been in business for approximately 150 years and they show no signs of stopping now. The apparel company survived the great depression, the 70’s AND the 80’s, and the most-recent recession. For 150 years, they have remained a key player in the apparel industry both in the United States and abroad in almost every corner of the world.
“How do they do it?” a lot of competitors ask. Levi’s has yet to release its top secret recipe for success but if I had to guess, I would presume that the company’s commitment to tradition and enthusiasm for innovation are key ingredients. The two elements have kept the company in business since 1873 and it will keep them in business for years to come. With tradition and innovation in mind, I have two suggestions for the company.
Levi’s used to be the jean of Hollywood’s elite. In the company’s official archives, there are letters from Cary Grant, Henry Kissinger, Lady Bird Johnson, silent-movie star/cowboy William S. Hart, and a young, suave Clint Eastwood. I want to see Levi’s become the jean of choice in Hollywood once again. The last thing I want is for Levi’s to become a sellout brand endorsed by the latest winner of the Bachelor, but the brand could benefit from endorsement by the right kinds of celebrities. I want to see stars like best actress Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence. She is known for her talent, modesty and laid-back personality and is a role model to young girls and women of all ages by showing off and refusing to abandon her womanly figure.
Don’t forget about Angelina Jolie. Whether you love her or hate her, one cannot deny the fact that she is using her star power to make a difference at home and abroad. She once told Forbes, “In my early 20s, I was fighting with myself. Now, I take that punk in me to Washington, and I fight for something important.” Jolie would be an excellent addition to the “Go Forth” campaign, inspiring people to speak out against social injustice.
As for the men, Levi’s could benefit from a tall glass of Leonardo DiCaprio. DiCaprio is an environmental activist who served on the Natural Resources Defense Council and co-produced a documentary called The 11th Hour on climate change and the problematic state of the environment. DiCaprio would be a great spokesperson for Levi’s Waste<Less or Water<Less collections along with other future sustainability efforts.
My last piece of advice: Don’t lose sight of your natural genius. Levi Strauss and Company makes jeans that are both functional and sexy. Please keep making jeans that are high quality and tough as an ox. I may never clean out a barn in them, but it’s the thought that counts. Consumers want a pair of jeans that they can feel confident in. In this way, I hope Levi’s doesn’t change. Innovation is a wonderful thing, as demonstrated by the Curve ID and Revel collections, but never forget the materialistic monster inside us all who wants to look and feel our best.
I can’t wait to see what the company is doing on their 200th anniversary.