Are yoga pants threatening the American tradition of denim?


Levi Strauss says its jeans sales are down among women—because women are buying yoga pants instead.
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 Levi Strauss CEO pits jeans against yoga pants. (Photos: Levi’s skinny jeans at left; Koral Activewear via Shopbop)

 

Your yoga pants obsession might be destroying the denim industry. Or that’s what Levi Strauss’s president and CEO, Chip Bergh, told Yahoo!

Jean sales are down among women as a casualwear choice, and he’s blaming it on your quest for cute leggings.

“We’re actually losing consumption to yoga pants,” says Bergh, who sounds defeated in the interview. Bergh thinks it’s due to the fact that it’s become socially acceptable for women to wear yoga pants to places other than, well, yoga.

Proof that his all-American brand is taking a hit? In 1995, Levi’s earned $7.1 billion in revenues, but that’s dropped to about $4.6 billion.

Since chic activewear—and its acceptance outside a fitness setting—is a relatively new phenomena, it might be overstating the situation to claim that Levi’s bottom line is affected more by fitness fashion brands than the rise of designer jean companies. Not helping his argument: That number is still almost three times the revenue of Lululemon. And needless to say, our fitness fashion needs have never gotten in the way of picking up a cute pair of Rag & Bone.

To get in the game, Levi’s is working on collection of soft, stretchy jeans (although they could be a few years too late on the now-passe jegging trend). But a collection of denim-inspired yoga pants spearheaded with a hot fitness fashion brand? That we could get with. After all, who can resist a chic street-style collaboration? —Molly Gallagher and Melisse Gelula

Tell us, have you stopped wearing jeans in favor of your favorite workout leggings?

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