US jeanswear company Levi Strauss and Co launched a new brand aimed at Asia on Wednesday, in a grab for a share of the growing market of middle class youth from Hyderabad to Shanghai.
The new brand, “dENiZEN”, goes on sale in China, Singapore and South Korea this month before expanding to India and across the continent, said Terence Tsang, the Levi Strauss vice president in charge of the brand.
“In the last few years we’ve seen a new group of consumers. These consumers are part of the rapidly growing middle class in developing countries,” said Aaron Boey, president of Levi’s Asia Pacific division.
“These consumers are enjoying and experiencing a new quality of life that wasn’t available to them before.”
The launch in Shanghai, “the fashion hub of China”, marked the first time Levi’s has moved outside the United States for the global launch of a brand, Tsang said. The brand’s designers and marketers will be based in Hong Kong.
At 40 to 60 dollars an item, the line will sell at lower prices than traditional Levi’s clothes, which start at around 75 dollars in China, Tsang said.
The brand aims to open up a new segment below the Levi’s main line, which is sold in more than 500 outlets in China, he added.
The collection, which features jeans, checkered flannel shirts and pink t-shirts printed with “Chase Your Dream”, was modelled by ten male and female bloggers chosen based on their “digital footprints”, Tsang said.
The ten brand ambassadors struck awkward poses and filmed and photographed the audience from the runway at the launch event.
They will publish content about the brand on social media for 100 days as part of the launch campaign, Tsang said.
Many of the posts on their Twitter feed from Shanghai, however, remarked on how difficult it was to post to Facebook and other social media sites because they were blocked by China’s “Great Firewall” system of Internet censorship.