The CEO of Levi Strauss & Co has said there is ‘definitely consumer appetite’ for a gender neutral clothing line – which the company is currently trying to build out.
Chip Bergh, 65, spoke about how 170-year-old San Francisco-based Levi’s has been developing gender fluid garments under his leadership.
Speaking in the context of Bud Light’s disastrous marketing campaign with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney, he said that there is an assured appetite for gender neutral clothing – based on data collected from the iconic denim company.
The CEO made clear that while the line is still small, there is ample room to grow as trends suggest that some men are buying women’s products, and vice versa.
Levi’s CEO Chip Bergh said: ‘We are building out slowly, it started with a small collection of gender neutral or gender fluid line, and there’s definitely consumer appetite for that’
Pictured: Levi’s June 2020 unisex campaign collection. The iconic jeans company first released a line of products specifically marketing to being worn by anyone in February 2017 – called Line 8
The moderator, Axios‘ Hope King, posed the question: ‘Bud Light’s recent marketing stunt shows where the backlash can come from.
‘How do you market products in a world where people are more aware of their gender identities?’
Bud Light decided to pair up with Dylan Mulvaney – a trans influencer – but the public response was immense. There have been boycotts across America because of the marketing campaign
CEO Chip Bergh said: ‘We actually have a gender neutral line. It was a small collection.
‘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.
‘That’s great. We are building out slowly, it started with a small collection of gender neutral or gender fluid line, and there’s definitely consumer appetite for that.
‘And we’re there for that.’
This comes after once-beloved beer brand Bud Light decided to pair up with Dylan Mulvaney – a trans influencer – for a campaign, but the public response was immense. There have been boycotts across America because of the stunt.
Levi’s gender fluid line is not new – and the company has promoted their customers shopping in whichever section fits them best for the last six years.
The iconic jeans company first released a line of products specifically marketing to being worn by anyone in February 2017 – called Line 8.
Levi’s said at the time: ‘Initially launched as exclusively menswear, Line 8 added women’s clothing two years ago.
‘The 2017 collection marks the first addition of unisex attire, truly gender-neutral looks that go beyond simply putting a feminine twist on a masculine style.’
During the pandemic, Levi’s said their ‘clothes become less about gender pronouns, and more about unisex styles that work equally for all — non-binary, female, and male bodies.’
Pictured: A Levi’s unisex style campaign from September 2019
Bergh has been outspoken in his beliefs on social justice, gun laws, and voting rights
In a blog post from June 2020, Levi’s wrote a guide to unisex shopping: ‘We’ve always believed in the power of self-expression. It’s part of our DNA. We want you to wear what feels right and speaks to your true self.
‘And this has never been more important than now, as our clothes become less about gender pronouns, and more about unisex styles that work equally for all — non-binary, female, and male bodies.
‘Shopping across the aisle isn’t a new trend — it’s just gotten easier. We’ve seen women in men’s 501 for decades. They were the original boyfriend jeans; the hand-me-down you turned into cutoffs; the ultimate score at the flea market.
‘With its button fly, straight leg and aura of cool, the 501 Original is still our most gender-fluid fit.’
In September 2020, Karyn Hillman, Levi’s chief product officer echoed these sentiments – saying that their denim molds to your shape, regardless of how you identify.
Hillaman added: ‘We’ve seen the rise of young consumers not focusing on whether a product is labeled men’s or women’s and are instead more focused on how they want to wear their style and fit.
‘When we’re styling and working with artists, celebrities and influencers, they just pick what they love. We work collaboratively as a men’s and women’s team to land the best fit to service different sizes and shapes.
‘We will continue this type of work with many of our upcoming collaborations.’
Meanwhile Bergh, who has been Levi’s President and CEO since 2011, has come under fire in recent years for his outspoken beliefs on social justice, gun laws, and voting rights.
In 2021, he spoke out against Georgia’s new legislation which allegedly would restrict voters’ access to the polls. He branded the law ‘racist.’
At the time, Bergh said that his San Francisco-based company is putting ‘our money where our mouth is.’
Pictured: A Levi’s unisex style campaign from September 2019
In a blog post from June 2020, Levi’s wrote a guide to unisex shopping: ‘We’ve always believed in the power of self-expression. It’s part of our DNA. We want you to wear what feels right and speaks to your true self’
In a blog post from June 2020, Levi’s wrote a guide to shopping unisex: ‘We’ve always believed in the power of self-expression. It’s part of our DNA. We want you to wear what feels right and speaks to your true self’
He said: ‘In 2020, we donated over $3 million from the Levi Strauss Foundation to different states.
‘More than 10% of that went to Georgia specifically to work with nonprofit organizations that were committed to ensuring fair and equal access to the polls and ensuring that voters could get out and vote.
‘And we’re going to continue to do the same thing as we move forward.’
In 2022, Bergh also told a panel that gun violence was ‘ripping this country apart,’ after he signed a letter to the US Senate, along with 200 other CEOs, about gun safety legislation.
And in 2016, Bergh sent an open letter to Levi’s customers following an incident in a Georgia store where a gun inadvertently went off and the gunman shot himself in the foot.
Bergh wrote: ‘It boils down to this: you shouldn’t have to be concerned about your safety while shopping for clothes or trying on a pair of jeans.
‘Simply put, firearms don’t belong in either of those settings.
‘In the end, I believe we have an obligation to our employees and customers to ensure a safe environment and keeping firearms out of our stores and offices will get us one step closer to achieving that reality.’
As CEO, Bergh has also been outspoken on climate change. He’s often called for ‘greater, more accelerated action,’ on global warming.
In his personal life, Chip is married to Juliet Bergh, who is of Chinese descent. He’s previously said that she is his ‘go-to’ when it comes to getting advice.
They share a daughter together, who is named Elin.
Before heading Levi’s Bergh worked at Procter & Gamble for 28 years, as well as working at P&G.
Levi’s products are sold in more than 110 countries worldwide – and in 2022, the jeans company reported that its net revenues were $6.2 billion.
This comes after new figures revealed that Bud Light sales have plummeted in every US region in the wake of its disastrous partnership with Dylan Mulvaney.
America’s flagship beer brand has been sent into a steep decline after it used the controversial trans influencer, 26, to promote the beverage.
America’s flagship beer brand has been sent into a steep decline after it used the controversial trans influencer, 26, to promote the beverage
Data from Beer Business Daily showed that sales of the US’s number one brand has fallen in every region of the country.
Sales in the Rocky Mountain states dipped the most significantly, down by 29 percent, with the South Atlantic, West North Central and East South Central all dropping 25 percent.
The Tumbleweed, a cowboy bar in Wyoming, ditched Bud Light after the controversy – instead plumping for Guinness.
Sales in the East North Central area – which includes Michigan and Illinois, both of which have seen a backlash against the beer – were down 23.5 percent in the week ending April 22.
It comes as analysts at HSBC have downgraded Anheuser-Busch’s stock because it is in the midst of a ‘crisis’ over the marketing blunder.
Carlos Laboy, a managing director at HSBC’s global beverage sector, downgraded the stock of Anheuser-Busch InBev to a hold status. It means that investors should not buy or sell shares of the company.
He said that the backlash is a sign there are ‘deeper problems than ABI admits’, questioning if it was ‘hiring the best people to grow the brands and gauge risk.’
Mulvaney posted the content to coincide with the NCAA March Madness tournament, before joking she didn’t know what sport she was promoting
In a note seen by CNBC, Laboy said: ‘If Budweiser and Bud Light are iconic American ideas that have long brought consumers together, why did these marketers fail to invite new consumers without alienating the core base of the firm’s largest brand?’
Several conservative stars were quick to move against the brand, with Kid Rock shooting up a case of the beer after discovering the partnership – shouting ‘F*** Bud Light, and f*** Anheuser-Busch. Have a terrific day.’
The MAGA star is from Michigan but has a bar in Nashville, Tennessee, which banned the product – contributing to a 25 percent sales dip in the region.
Customers at Kid Rock’s Big Honky Tonk and Rock n’ Roll Steakhouse in Nashville praised the country icon for reportedly removing Bud Light from the bar.
Some visitors said they were ‘impressed’ that the star ‘put his money where his mouth is’, though there was no response when DailyMail.com asked for confirmation from the bar.
Country singer Travis Tritt, who is from Georgia, in the South Atlantic region, announced that he would be banning all Anheuser-Busch products from his tour bus over the partnership.