IF there’s something worth knowing about denim, Karyn Hillman knows it. The Levi’s CPO – that’s chief product officer for anyone not familiar with the role – has amassed a vast knowledge of the fabric that features prominently in almost every wardrobe, and she’s currently applying it with gusto to the legendary American workwear company.
Two short years at Levi’s is merely a drop in the ocean of her denim nous – with 25 years of experience working for two of the country’s best-known labels, Calvin Klein and Gap, under her neat leather belt.
“I love denim – the men’s and women’s business – and I wanted to bring a fresh perspective to Levi’s, so it was time to take a look and see what we have, what else is out there, and what do we need?” she explained. “Everyone knows what the Levi’s icons are – like the 501, which we updated this year with the launch of the CT – but where is the slimmer skinnier version of our brand going? And how do we make sure we offer a modern, core shape, which still has the same identity as people expect from us.
They have to speak to each other. We can’t go so modern or premium that it doesn’t feel like us anymore, or so authentic that people like them but think, ‘Yeah, but I only need a few of those.'”