Amazing story in Bloomberg Business about Levi’s. None of its executives, over the last two years, saw yoga pants coming. Athletic pants last year sold in equal numbers to jeans for the first time in the U.S. as revenue from women’s jeans fell 8%. Two decades ago, Levi’s was bigger than Nike, with revenue exceeding $7 billion. Sales have since sagged to $4.8 billion.
Yoga pants’ rise is nearly synonymous with that of Lululemon. Yoga pants feature advanced materials and they manage to be both stylish and casual. Levi’s missed the appeal. But they have now introduced a new Lot 700 women’s line and although I haven’t tried them, word of mouth is good. We will see.
Read more below on how denim has evolved from the 1980’s to now and how Levi’s, inexplicably, missed most of the trends disrupting their industry.
Designer jeans: Guess, Calvin Klein with Brooke Shields
Also: Stonewash/ Preppy Looks – khakis
Hip hop with its baggy/saggy jeans nearly killed Levi’s. Brands like Girbaud, Phat Farm, Tommy Hilfiger, Fubu, Cross Colours were hotter than hot while Levi’s dropped off the radar.
Note: Grunge in the early 90’s was aligned with Levi’s. Gap’s khakis were also big in the 90’s.
Skinny jeans start to dominate by mid-to-late 2000’s which is again good for Levi’s but we also see a mash up of styles from hipster chic to low rise to bling and distressed jeans.
Hip hop remained influential and rappers loved brands like Seven for All Mankind, Paper Denim, True Religion and the Japanese brand Evisu starts to blow up.
2010 to now
Athleisure and Lululemon start to become popular – initially with women and later with guys – and see pic below for Levi’s response: the new Lot 700 line.