Denim company Levi's is poised to redefine its brand identity to cater to the growing acceptance and visibility of transgender, genderfluid, and non-binary individuals in society. This initiative marks a significant shift in the company's traditional approach to clothing, aiming to embrace the nuances of gender diversity.
Chip Bergh, the CEO of Levi Strauss, America's oldest jeans company, has expressed a determination to expand the brand's gender-neutral line of denim products. This strategic move is a response to what Bergh perceives as a "consumer appetite" for clothing that does not adhere strictly to traditional male or female norms, Daily Mail reported.
In a conversation during an Axios BFD event in San Francisco on Wednesday, Bergh unveiled that the San Francisco-based brand is gradually developing a diverse range of unisex clothing options.
He remained undeterred by the possibility of a backlash similar to the recent Bud Light controversy, displaying confidence in the new direction for his company that has been a staple in the fashion industry for over 170 years.
Bergh, himself dressed in a classic denim-on-denim ensemble, asserted, “We know that some women buy some men’s products and some men buy women’s products. We know that that goes on, we’ve got the research and the data to show it."
His comments were in response to a question about marketing strategies in a world where awareness and acceptance of various gender identities are on the rise.
In the same discussion, Hope King, Axios's senior business reporter, cited a recent study indicating that approximately 1% of adults currently identify themselves as transgender, non-binary, non-conforming, or gender fluid. Bergh did not directly address the Bud Light issue but instead emphasized that Levi's already has a gender-neutral line in its portfolio.
"It was a small collection," Bergh said, hinting that the company plans to expand the line in response to data indicating that both men and women are open to purchasing products designed for the opposite gender.
Levi's first foray into gender fluid fashion was the Line 8 collection, launched in 2017. The launch press release described the collection as a "selection of products designed to be worn by anyone, regardless of gender."
In 2019, Levi's published a guide to unisex shopping, further establishing its commitment to gender inclusivity. The following year, the brand clarified in a blog post that the iconic Levi's 501 jeans are designed "for a variety of bodies, no matter the gender."
While Levi's is embracing the trend of gender-neutral clothing, other brands like Bud Light have experienced significant sales declines following marketing campaigns aimed at appealing to the same demographic. Bud Light experienced a sales drop of up to 30% in some areas following its collaboration with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney in early April. Bud Light's custom can featuring Mulvaney's face, intended to celebrate her "365 Days of Girlhood," faced considerable backlash on social media, leading to a drop in sales.