Levi's last night launched dENiZEN, the name of its new "global brand" aimed at Asian consumers, with a fashion show in Shanghai. The collection, offering its own logo and styles, is primarily aimed at China but also available in Singapore and South Korea.
Its goal is described as "outfitting the new global citizen for a bright future, supplying jeans and other essentials for an on-the-go, engaged life."
The brand name was selected to evoke "inhabitant" Levi's adds: "living in a place, living on earth, just being. Denim is in the name, the heart of the brand. And dENiZEN has another great meaning too: the idea of someone who frequents a particular place, the idea of belonging to a community of friends and family."
"This is the first brand in our long history to be launched outside the company’s home country," Levi's SVP and dENiZEN head Terence Tsang blogged. "Yes, Shanghai, China, the site of our unveiling last night, is a long way from San Francisco. dENiZEN is also the company’s first brand to have its headquarters outside the United States. My team is based in Hong Kong, the fashion hub of Asia. And dENiZEN is our first brand designed with young Asian consumers in mind – the people who represent 'Asia Rising.'"
The jeans-maker has been touting its Levi's Modern Original collection in the Asia-Pacific region, but announced earlier this year it wanted to create a new brand for China. Now, it will be emphasizing the dENiZEN brand name in the market with about 50 branded stores opening by the end of the year.
"Moving away from its legendary brand is a remarkable move for Levi's, one of most well-recognized names in the world," comments CNNMoney.
As China's clout grows as the world's second biggest economy, Levi's isn't the only company to sublimate its core brand by selling under a new brand aimed at China's consumers. General Motors is bringing Baojun (which means "Treasured Horse") to the market, while Hermès is investing in the Shang Xia brand for China.
The Associated Press spoke with McKinsey consultant Max Magni about the gold rush that's spurring brands to reshape themselves for Chinese consumers. "We have not seen this before to the extent we are seeing this in China. We are dealing with 1 billion people with income per capita growing exponentially," Magni observed. "Chinese consumers are not brand loyal, but they are brand conscious. They are trying something new all the time."
At the same time, as the AP adds, "they're becoming more pragmatic and looking for extra value, and having a brand that caters to their tastes can provide some of that extra appeal."