New York diaries with Levi’s
The cult brand and the city
By Shruti Thacker
Growing up in the ’90s in India, Levi’s was integral to the DNA of every cool person I knew. My first crush wore Levi’s. The most popular girl in school wore Levi’s. Finally, at 12, I begged my mum to buy me a pair in a pledge to become cool (I barely managed to remain on the fringes). So when Levi’s invited me to New York for the launch of their latest campaign – Live in Levi’s – and meet brand president James Curleigh, I felt like a teenager again.
Thankfully, I wasn’t the only one who thought Levi’s was the way to cool. When I met Curleigh at a cocktail party overlooking the New York skyline, he talked about how growing up, Levi’s was an integral part of his life. The do was held in the penthouse of The Standard, East Village (my room was a couple of floors down). If I ever needed a reason to love New York even more, this was it – the 360-degree vantage point gave me views of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building. Over cocktails and oysters, Curleigh unveiled the new campaign featuring real, everyday people and the impact a pair of Levi’s jeans continued to have in their lives. Clearly, I wasn’t the only one.
Can you spot the Empire State Building?
The view from the penthouse at The Standard, East Village where I met James Curleigh
Later in the week, I went to the Levi’s Soho store, a space that was as exciting inside as the area it’s located in. The changing room was decked out to be a camp/army base with khaki green tents instead of rooms. A trucker jacket and denim shirt later, I was ready for the Live in Levi’s launch later that evening at Brooklyn Bridge Park.
How cool is Levi’s army base camp inspired changing room?
My invite for the concert
Dressed in a denim shirt by Levi’s, I’m ready for the launch
And what better way to launch a campaign for a brand that defines all things cool than with a concert by indie bands, Sleigh Bells and Haim? The only requirement for entry – wear your Levi’s. I walked in with my VIP wrist band (dressed in the brand’s denims, of course), and saw a wooden wall at the entrance that urged concert go-ers to write how they ‘live in their Levi’s’ – from “I record in Levi’s” to “I gave birth in Levi’s”, it was clear that the brand had been part of several important moments in people’s lives. The concert itself was a giant picnic – with sliders, tacos, cheesecake and beer for the VIPs. There were blankets laid out on the grass and people (dressed in various styles of Levi’s – from denim cut-offs to classic 501s), were huddled in groups enjoying the sunshine, food and the stunning backdrop of the Brooklyn Bridge, and, at a distance, the Statue of Liberty. It was all captured in one iconic snapshot by photographer Spencer Tunick, who asked 2,000 attendees to pose en masse for the picture. The atmosphere was electric once Sleigh Bells took the stage, followed by Haim with their popular song ‘Forever’, and a selection from their latest album, Days Are Gone. All of this on a Tuesday night.
The Live in Levi’s wall
It was a picnic…
…with yummy food….
…and good music
If only all working days were this much fun.