SVP of Levi's Design, Jonathan Cheung about collaborations, sustainability and why the brand remains timeless.EDGAR talks exclusively to
What was it that drew you to the brand?
Initially, when I was a teenager, Levi’s felt cool and sexy to me. Afterwards, I became fascinated with its history, and loved the 501 from a pure design standpoint. I love the fact that the design has been tested, probably by more people, for more time, than any other piece of clothing.
What is it that makes Levi’s so timeless?
Three things. Practical design, social value and constant evolution. Let me expand a bit on those. Firstly, Levi’s evolved from workwear, so there’s an inherent practicality about jeans – pretty much anyone can wear them anywhere, any time. Secondly, Levi’s have social value, and by that I mean, they are more than just a pair of cotton trousers, but they represent history, culture and self expression. There are many jeans, but Levi’s were there at the birth of rock n roll, punk, grunge, hip hop – worn by Steve Jobs and Rihanna. That’s social value. Then they have constantly evolved. Even the legendary 501 has changed many, many times in its history. Its shape has subtly changed to reflect changes in taste. All these factors help keep Levi’s relevant and timeless.
Cheung: “Levi’s were there at the birth of rock n roll, punk, grunge, hip hop – worn by Steve Jobs and Rihanna. That’s social value.”
How did the collaboration with Bape happen?
They asked if we were interested and we said yes! A few of us paid a visit to Bape HQ in Tokyo in spring 2019, and we quickly landed on the interchangeable Trucker jacket concept. It’s one of those ideas that make you wonder why you’d never thought of it before.
How does sustainability fit into Levi’s plans moving forward?
That’s a good question. Sustainability is a big deal for us, and has been for many years. Our Waterless program started in 2011, and we have led the industry in reducing water use. Since then, we have constantly worked in reducing the use of water and chemicals. We recognise that sustainability is the biggest challenge that our industry faces. In 2020 you’ll see much more Levi’s denim made from hemp. So keep your eyes on us.
What are your predictions for fashion trends in 2020?
Sustainability, customisation, more collaborations, and denim fits to get looser.
END OF INTERVIEW