When Dockers was founded by Levi Strauss & Co in the 1986 it was the beginning of a sea change in fashion. Businessmen didn’t want to wear suits every day anymore and were looking for something that was modern, relaxed and still formal at the same time. The traditional dress code was replaced by a style that allowed men to show their own personality through clothing. And chino pants fulfilled all their new sartorial needs.
SPORTSWEAR INTERNATIONAL chatted with Lucia Marcuzzo, who was appointed Vice President Central Europe Levi Strauss & Co in 2016, to learn about Dockers’ latest plans. Marcuzzo formerly worked at Diesel SpA managing the Directly Operated Stores network and joined the US company in 2010. Now the Venetian born economist is responsible for territories such Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Benelux that form the biggest market in the old world, so he has deep insight in the changing business.
She shared how the world of fashion will be affected by digitalism, how the target group of the brand changed and how influencers are putting their impact on the brand’s destiny.
#Always On is your claim for 2018. What does it stand for and how important and manageable is it to be always on?
Entrepreneurship is at the center of the culture of the millennial generation and we reclaim our position in this culture. Because entrepreneurship is our emotional platform ever since. Living comfortable, ready, presentable, and up for every challenge. When it was founded, Dockers was a revolution in fashion. Now more then 30 years later, the world has changed a lot. Nowadays you have to be ready for changes. It is not the case anymore that you are hired by a company and retire with the same company. You have always to be ready to catch several opportunities. Start-ups are about creativity in the business environment–and looks have changed from Casual Friday to casual everyday. Wearing Dockers chinos means you are always prepared: To hop on a plane without changing clothes, for example. Commuting, working in the office or at home–this is what the claim is about.
The current collection refers to digitalism–what does that mean in practice?
The most successful start-ups have a digital background or are born around a digital environment. We are getting our inspiration from people who work in these businesses. But there are another aspects as well. In Germany, Dockers as a brand is like a start-up and we treat it like this. The brand is already big in southern Europe. The US it is the biggest market but we see a lot of potential in Central Europe. Concerning our distribution we are thinking about how we can connect with our consumers, how we can talk to them. Digitalism is here in the center of our marketing strategy. We are actually partners with digital players and we chose our distributors from the point, if they are investing massively in brick and click.
And how does it show in the product?
The strategy is very connected with the product. It is not an obvious labeling, but what you find on the product is innovation. Maybe the most evident element is the iPhone pocket, that holds your mobile in the best way to not get lost and still feels very comfortable. The phone as the main working tool needs to be involved in every product design nowadays.
The strategy is very connected with the product. It is not an obvious labeling, but what you find on the product is innovation. Maybe the most evident element is the iPhone pocket in the Smart 360 Flex line, one of our most successful product launches in the last years, that holds your mobile in the best way to not get lost and still feels very comfortable.
At Berlin Fashion Week Dockers did an event to share expertise with its clients about block chains. How do they influence fashion industry at the moment?
This was a very important event for us to show our strategy. Every season we are planning to have a different kind of event around related topics and with the same spirit. We want to discuss what is relevant for the young generation. Block chains and cryptocurrency are hot topics and it is interesting to see how these connect with fashion. We got a lot of coverage with this event, so it helps us to amplify our voice and to be more relevant.
And how are they going to influence fashion in the future years?
Well, it is a great question. We are still in the process of trying to understand how these technologies can change our business and to find out if and how they will disrupt the traditional finance industry and bank industry. In the past years we have seen a lot of technologies that are enabling us to completely different ways of doing business. I am looking at it with extreme interest and find all this development is absolutely exciting. In the end there is still an element of trust that needs to be created. People need to get aware of the opportunities but at the same time of the risks. Remember? We saw the stock market going up and down. The technology is amazing, but it is something to watch.
Which role does San Francisco and the Silicon Valley as the cradle and the origin of the brand play?
It is a key role, because of our DNA. We are now going back to the DNA of the brand and California is something that really characterizes us. Dockers is about working, being successful, but at the same time about the Californian way of life, about doing everything in a relaxed way. Not being obsessed by success. It is rather taking your success and enjoying your life.
You did a collab with Ross Borden, the founder of Matador Network, an online travel platform. Do you want to continue with ambassadors like him?
Our ambassadors are not movie or pop stars, but digital entrepreneurs and yes, we will continue like this. They can also be a role mode and inspiration for others. And they are very connected!
Which impact do you get from him? Does he go further than a usual influencer?
We are close to different kind of influencers and it is all about the profile of the people. We are not looking at the numbers. Apart from the volume, which is not the most important thing for us, it is more relevant what they stand for, what they are interested in, what is their life and working story. People who have a history creating their own business, in inspiring others through their success–they are what we are looking for.