Levi's Reimagine: The First Steps

In the midst of this crazy year, I’ve been so lucky to be involved in a hugely exciting collaboration with Levi’s to design and hand-dye their Reimagine Collection. It was great to announce this to you all over the past month, and to share all the info about the new Levi’s Haus Soho sustainable concept store. This store is the first of its type in the world, where the one of a kind Reimagine collection is exclusively sold. While looking back through my photos, I thought of all the amazing work that has gone on behind the scenes during lockdown in the leadup to this Levis store launch. I’ve so enjoyed every step, and wanted to share a peek into the process with you through a few blogs!

Sustainable Minds Think Alike

It all started with a completely unexpected phone call on a Thursday afternoon. Levi’s marketing team reached out after finding me on Pinterest. They had found one of my indigo and shibori pattern opening videos from Childwickbury Arts Fair. These moments are my favourites to share and demo at events— who doesn’t enjoy seeing a pattern unfold into reality? You can find one of these videos here!

Levi’s identified with the work and ethos of Indigowares, and wanted to investigate how they could incorporate Indigo dye into a new project of theirs. That project was Reimagine, a segment of their full theme of ‘REPAIR REWEAR REIMAGINE’. These three cornerstones would be brought to action through three sustainable collections to be sold exclusively at Levi’s Haus Store. They explained the sustainable concept for their new store, where customers could come to repair their old items or (here comes my part) shop from reinvented garments created from their back catalogue. This creates a use for faulty and returned items that couldn’t otherwise be sold, as well as donations from employees and consumers.

The Sample Process

I was obviously thrilled by the idea, so we took the next steps forward. Levi’s sent over a selection of products similar to what might be available for repurposing: a couple of Levi’s trucker jackets, a few of the iconic 501 jeans, also some recycled cotton fabric. We discussed a rough outline of techniques. Mostly agreeing dip dye was going to be very important as a look. So I got to work as usual. After all was set and done, here were some of the results!

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Something really refreshing about beginning this journey was how authentic the process of making these samples felt to both Levi’s vision for Reimagine and Indigowares as a brand. The call and invitation to collaborate was so out of the blue. There was no moment of hesitation or second guessing the aesthetic combination. I jumped right into these samples, and quickly realised how naturally our brands aligned. From the use of natural organic Indigo dye, the dip dyed and tie-dyed aesthetic, the sustainable ethos, all added up. I even photographed all of my samples on the exact same wall I usually do! It was such a seamless and positive experience with the Levi’s Experience Marketing team, plus a great opportunity to bring slow fashion ethos to a large-scale audience.

Levi’s Haus, London is a huge step forward for sustainable retail models. It responds to the overproduction of fast fashion, which has doubled in the last 15 years. People are buying more and wearing each item for a shorter amount of time, an equation that creates a huge amount of waste and a devastating planetary impact. Levi’s knows this and is taking action with two basic steps: using more recycled content in new clothing and keeping existing clothing out of the landfill longer. After all, if we simply use an already owned item for 9 months longer, we can reduce the impact on the planet by around 30% for that one item. That’s a huge amount of change with such a simple action. And all it requires is that we purchase clothing that will last, and that we’ll love for a bit longer.

With Haus, Levi’s not only imagined a concept for a single new location— this store acts as a blueprint for a reinvented consumer experience. A ‘circular-economy concept’, that requires little to no water spending, only the use of natural indigo dye for the creation of Levi’s Reimagine, no global transportation, and no power needed to make new jeans. It’s a sustainable shopping experience that takes all the right steps forward. And at the end of the day, it provides exactly what shoppers are always after: beautifully crafted garments that they are sure to love for a long time.

These samples were just the beginning. And the great news— Levi’s loved the results.

Over the next few weeks, I will release a few blogs that take you through each step of collaborating with Levi’s to create Reimagine. The next part of the story involves my backyard, 100 pairs of jeans, and a quickly deteriorating washing machine… so be sure to check back soon!