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Levi’s moves upmarket with shapewear range

Levi’s plans to grab a bigger slice of the premium branded denim market with the launch of a new shapewear sub-brand under the umbrella name Curve.

The Slight Curve, Demi Curve and Bold Curve ranges were developed after interviews with nearly a million women worldwide and are said to cover about 80% of women’s body shapes, it is understood.

Levi’s would not reveal full details of its plans but it is thought that Slight Curve will cater for more boyish figures, while Bold Curve is targeted at full-figured women. Levi’s will offer the usual leg variations within each range. The jeans will retail for between £95 and £115.

The ranges will soft launch in mid-July and are understood to be debuting in the UK in three London retailers - Trilogy, the specialist women’s premium denim indie which has three stores in the capital, Shoreditch designer boutique Start, and premium department store Liberty.

The brand is also understood to be in talks to sell the range in Selfridges, and is planning a wider launch on September 1 and a nationwide roll-out for spring 11.

A simultaneous launch is planned in selected US premium boutiques.

Levi’s womenswear has suffered in recent years from a polarisation of the under-35s denim market. Shoppers have opted for cheaper high street jeans at one end or premium brands such as 7 For All Mankind and J Brand at the other, denting sales of Levi’s and other mid-market brands. NYDJ (formerly known as Not Your Daughter’s Jeans) was an early pioneer of shapewear jeans and has been growing in popularity with womenswear indies.

Trilogy co-owner James Leslie told Drapers: “The product is very, very good. We wouldn’t be stocking it if it wasn’t.”

However, other premium retailers were more sceptical. The owner of one indie said: “Levi’s tries to reinvent itself every few years but it hasn’t managed it so far. I think it is worried by the launch of [Ralph Lauren premium denim brand] RRL in the UK later this summer.”

For more on the denim market, see News Analysis p8 »

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