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An Exclusive Q&A with Maurizio Donadi of Levi’s Made & Crafted Jeans


We just had the awesome opportunity to speak with Maurizio Donadi, Global Senior Vice President of Levi’sXX. Levi’s XX is an independent creative division of Levi Strauss & Co, which houses two exclusive brands, Levi’s Vintage Clothing and Levis Made & Crafted. He granted us this exclusive interview, discussing the amazing brand that stems from the household name we all know to be synonymous with denim.

maurizio donadi

Denim Therapy: Lets start from the beginning.

Levi’s Made & Crafted: First of all, I am not a designer. What was interesting and inspiring for me in the beginning was the opportunity to work on a project so deeply rooted in history (with the Levi’s® Vintage Clothing line) and on bringing a sense of modernity and true innovation into the Levi’s world with the Levi’s® Made & Crafted™ line. Both brands are about high quality, fanatical attention to details and serious craftsmanship. It is indeed a unique project.

DT: Are there other denim brands you consider your immediate competition? How do you differentiate yourself from the hundreds of popular denim brands afloat right now?

Levi’s M&C: Our brands are both product and lifestyle driven instead of category-driven. For example, we design the shirt, sweater, jacket, chinos and jeans all at the same time within a story, a concept narrative. For us, we set very high standards and look at brands, companies and projects in the market that are not necessarily fashion/apparel related.

DT: Does your team have any pre-designing rituals?

Levi’s M&C: We are all engaged in the design process together from design and merchandising to product development and production.  We as a team have an exercise internally called: The Creative Week. This ritual is more about developing the origin together until we each set off to get it done!

DT: Describe the person who represents your ideal target customer – the customer you have in mind when you’re planning a collection.

Levi’s M&C: We typically design into what the brands’ foundation is – not necessarily for a customer. The definition of customer is debatable. Fundamentally we have a dialogue with those that have a deep respect for the history of denim and most often for Levi’s®. And that is who we are. However, we are lucky that we are capturing a new type of audience who is intrigued about our point of view so we have an opportunity to educate them about what it is/who we are in new ways. With Levi’s® Made & Crafted™, we focus on quality, details and functional relevance to modern needs like travel and work, in a city or small town.  The flexibility encourages mixing of our pieces with others because in the end, we want our personalities to show through, not just the clothes. All of that is for us very innovative, subtle and elevated.  This creative positive tension between heritage and innovation is a magnetic story. It is also a story about testing, experimenting and finding new solutions.

DT: Can you give us hint about what’s next?

Levi’s M&C: Every retailer is free to buy what they think is the best assortment for their clientele.  So if one shops at: Fred Segal in Santa Monica; Barney’s New York; Liberty in London; Fred Segal Melrose; Present in east London; American Rag LA; Brooklyn Denim; Isetan Tokyo; Antonia in Milan; Net-a-Porter, Mr Porter and LNCC online; and many others around the world, one will find a very personalized selection and depth. What’s next from us will not be necessarily a trend but nothing else than a strong point of view on fits and finishes. We design with longevity in mind, not for a quick seasonal trend. However I think that our Made IN USA assortment for both brands is quite remarkable in terms of quality, the natural aging of fabrics and original fits selection.

DT: What would be your dream collaboration? Any plans of that in the future?

Levi’s M&C: With Levi Strauss himself! Therefore, no plans for the future.

DT: What are the most popular washes/fits in the line? What are your favourites, and how would you style them:

Levi’s M&C: Levi’s® Made & Crafted™ has an amazing selection of classic chinos in a range of fits and finishes. The Sander Cinch, for example is a modern interpretation of the Levi’s® Spring Bottom pant, a style Levi’s® started producing 1880. For women, the Pins Skinny is a deep blue coloured classic skinny fit jean. It has hand sponged ageing that gives it a natural worn feel.

DT: Do you have any favourite/least favourite denim trends right now?

Levi’s M&C: Everything that is truly authentic, simple, well made and fun is a good trend to me.

DT: Street style and style blogs are huge in the industry right now as a source of inspiration, influencing the high-end labels rather than vice versa. How much does street style influence your designing?

Levi’s M&C: The galaxy of blogs is an interesting one. And as in a real galaxy you can find stars/blogs that are exploding, imploding, disoriented and gone mad. Some of them are a case study, some are fascinating and some are truly rubbish. We look at them with a telescope …… from a safe distance. Different matter is the inspiration that comes from the Street. Generally speaking, people utilize inventive spirit in order to make a statement about their personality and characters. Clothing creates an interesting way of showing up publicly and is quite different from person to person. The beauty of being humans is that we can really add a twist on every expression of self. It is the Circus of the Human Condition. Therefore a good show to go see.

DT: How many pairs of denim do YOU own?

Levi’s M&C: Enough – it runs the gamut from vintage collector pieces to the one pair that I wear almost everyday and get mended every time I go to San Francisco’s Levi’s® Tailor Shop.

DT: Favourite celeb wearing your brand?

Levi’s M&C: In our own world we are all celebrities. With and without clothes on!

You can visit their website to see more styles from the Made & Crafted Collection.

 

—Jackie Racer

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Posted Jul 05 2011 in Denim News » Interviews » Lookbooks

Fred Segal Launches New Site, Features Mother Denim


Los Angeles-based boutique Fred Segal—a favorite stop for celebrities and hipsters alike—launched their Fred Segal Trend e-commerce site yesterday.  Marquee brands so far include A.L.C., Elizabeth & James, Isabel Marant, and Steven Alan—all brands which produce denim.  At the moment, only three styles of Mother Denim jeans are offered on the site for women, but we fully expect a lot more jeans for sale in the near future.

Fred Segal launches FredSegalTrend.com featuring brands which produce denim!

Go to Fred Segal Trend online to shop the site.

 

—Kathy Ng Hassan

 

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Posted Jun 17 2011 in Denim News

Citizens of Humanity Debuts New ‘Adonis’ Jeans at Fred Segal


Fancy yourself a Greek god?  Citizens of Humanity’s latest installation at Fred Segal Finery, featuring the new Adonis jeans, might make you feel like you’ve got the perfect body wearing the world’s most comfortable jeans.  At least, Co-Founders Jerome Dahan and Adriano Goldschmied hope guys who wear these jeans will feel that way.  The new Adonis fit “brings back the classic shape of a traditional slim fit adapted to embrace the stretchability of the ultra soft fabric.”

Citizens of Humanity debuts their new Adonis fit jean, a slim jean with stretch.

Dahan and Goldschmied teamed up with Fred Segal Finery in Santa Monica to produce this display, featuring a hand painted slogan, Enjoy the comfort! against a stark white wall.  A pair of the Adonis Fit jeans is “casually placed over a thrift store purchased chair to convey the marriage of ultimate comfort and the contemporary style of a slim jean.”  The installation is on display through June and July.  If you live in Los Angeles, you’ve got dibs on the Adonis jeans.  This new style will launch to global denim lovers this Fall.

Read about Adriano Goldschmied’s  ‘Mister Sneakers’ Art Installation at Ron Herman.

—Kathy Ng Hassan

 

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Posted Jun 15 2011 in Denim Menswear » Denim News

Denim Deals (L.A.): Fred Segal Blowout


fred-segal-sale

Head on over to the west side and soak up some beach sun, fresh air and that new denim scent at Fred Segal!  Starting Friday, January 14, save up to 50% off select merchandise at Fred Segal Santa Monica, with even more deals through the end of the month.  This is a huge blowout sale, folks.  If you’re not familiar with Fred Segal, it’s a popular celebrity shopping destination for a milieu of celebrities, both male and female alike.  What’s the big deal?  Check out the roster of denim brands that’ll make you drool!

Denim on Sale at Fred Segal: Levi’s Vintage Clothing, Levi’s Made & Crafted, Citizens of Humanity, Current/Elliott, Genetic Denim, Siwy, Nudie, J Brand, AG, DL1961, Habitual, Marc Allison, and more!

Fred Segal Santa Monica Sale
January 14 – Save up to 50% off select merchandise; January 17 -  Save two-thirds off select merchandise; January 24 – 31 Save up to 75% off select merchandise.

Sale Locations
420 Broadway & 500 Broadway
Santa Monica, CA 91401
310.395.3099

– Kathy Ng Hassan

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Posted Jan 12 2011 in Sales

Denim Brand: JET Jeans


T-shirt and denim line, JET Jeans, was founded by former Vice President, Creative Director and Buyer for Fred Segal, John Eshaya. Eshaya, a fashion icon in his own right, who has utilized his expertise to help navigate a street meets runway vision with such brands and designers including Victoria??™s Secret, DKNY, Theory, Citizen’s of Humanity and Helmut Lang. But most of all his talent and vision has been instrumental to the success of Fred Segal as one of the most influential specialty boutiques in Los Angeles.

Jet’s first flagship store recently opened at the Fred Segal Santa Monica location with devout followers such as Nicole Richie, Nicky Hilton, Scarlet Johansson, Lindsay Lohan, Christina Aguilera, and Mary-Kate Olsen.  Three great jeans that are hot amongst the celebrities are: the Grey Splat Moto skinny jean, Blue Acid Wash skinny and the Trashed skinny jean.  I especially love the grey splat moto’s, which I would pair with sexy ankle boots and a long chunky sweater for this cold winter weather.

John Eshaya GSM jeans

Grey Splat Moto Skinny Jeans, $188.00

BAW Jean

Blue Acid Wash Skinny Jean, $188.00

DCLT jean

Denim Thrashed Jean, $188.00

JET @ Fred Segal

–Nikki Cho Russo

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Posted Jan 14 2010 in Denim News » Reviews: Brand

Be a Good Citizen: Jeans For Humanity (L.A.)


coh-donation

Do you have a decent pair of actual Boyfriend jeans that you snagged from the man himself?  If you’re planning on buying a pair of Citizens of Humanity jeans anyway, here’s your chance to save a bit of money and feel good about your purchase.    For every gently-worn men’s jeans that you bring into Fred Segal Finery and donate to the Ocean Park Community Center (OPCC), Fred Segal Finery and Citizens of Humanity will thank you with a gift of $25 towards a new pair of Citizens of Humanity jeans.  Offer ends May 31 2009.  See Fred Segal Finery for details.

VISIT FRED SEGAL ONLINE

Kathy Ng Hassan

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Posted May 30 2009 in Uncategorized
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