Levi’s Wants You to Rethink Your Denim Shopping

In the Levi’s store on Market Street in San Francisco, the denim maker’s newly extended collection is on full display. Its mannequins are dressed head to toe in its trademark denim. Black denim overalls are paired with a light-blue long-sleeve denim blouse, complemented by a denim cap. Another dons a denim cross-body bag. A wall of blue jean jackets gives shoppers the option to feel like a hippie, rancher or rock star — depending on which they choose.

“It isn’t just walls and walls of jeans,” Michelle Gass said as she scanned the store this month, days after becoming the chief executive of Levi Strauss & Company. The assortment of tops, which Levi’s has been producing at a faster rate than it has in the past, was equal to the store’s inventory of jeans.

That day, Ms. Gass’s outfit also served as an example of what the company was going for. She had swapped out her signature black leather jacket that was her go-to look during her time as Kohl’s chief executive for a dark-wash Levi’s trucker jacket and a ’90s-inspired midi denim skirt to match.

Ms. Gass, 55, wants to make Levi’s not only a brand you think of when you want jeans, but also a place you go to first when shopping for shirts, jumpsuits and puffer jackets. Her goal is to get customers back more often — since people usually buy tops more frequently than bottoms — and to bring them to Levi’s stores, its website and its mobile app.

“When you’re building stores, when you’re creating an e-commerce site, the consumer wants to explore and shop more than just for a pair of jeans,” Ms. Gass said.


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