Denim in Today’s News

The WSJ is reporting on a postive turn around in the financials at Levi Strauss & Co:

The 157-year-old company is trying to reinvent itself as not just a purveyor of basics but as an edgier brand suitable for the fashion cognoscenti. By opening lavish boutiques, like one in London, renaming its high-end labels, and hiring executives from competing designer brands like Ralph Lauren and 7 for All Mankind, the company is seeking to improve its fashion street cred, a move that it hopes will reignite sales, which have stabilized at around $4 billion annually after peaking at $7.1 billion 1996.

The company doesn’t disclose dollar sales of its expensive jeans, which are a small part of its business. They are important, however, because they cast a halo over the brand name.

The latest results look positive: On Tuesday, Levi’s reported that it earned $56 million in its first fiscal quarter ended Feb. 28, up 17% from a year earlier. Revenue rose 9% to $1.04 billion, on growth of the brand’s world-wide footprint and favorable exchange rates. On a constant-currency basis, the company said net revenue rose 4% in the quarter. Levi’s is closely held but it reports results because of its publicly traded debt.

I’m still wary of their high-end premium items, but it’s good to see the company doing well again. Continue reading more.

And Self Edge was profiled in the NYTimes:

Next, the hem, an obstacle in itself. Local tailors looked at me as if I had requested a Pétrus Slurpee at a 7-Eleven: chain-stitching requires a special machine. So again to the Internet, which led me to Self Edge on Orchard Street, where in the basement, a refurbished Union Special with specially fabricated parts gnaws its way through 100 pairs of jeans a week.

Upstairs, Self Edge has one of the best, and most imposing, selections of denim in the city. Just inside the store, to the left of the front door, is the thickly packed rack of jeans, dangling side by side as if on meat hooks in a freezer. Almost uniformly, they’re broodingly dark and ramrod stiff, the selection emphasizing Japanese brands that fetishistically recreate rugged American denim products of decades long gone.

Continue reading more.

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