Hip Hop’s Original Denim: Levi’s Goes From Main Street Back to Wall Street
By Fredrick Lee
Levi’s IPO could raise between $600M - $800M
Denim market value is more than $100B
Hip hop’s first denim brand Levi Strauss officially filed to return to the public markets under the ticker “LEVI,” three decades after it went private. The move comes after Levi’s hugely profitable 2018, including collaborations with Virgil Abloh’s Off-White and Beyoncé at Coachella, all helped the denim maker capitalize on the resurgence of denim.
Why This Matters: Long-term loyalty with the hip hop and African American community dating back to the 1980’s only heightens Levi’s growth. Last year, the iconic denim brand had a reported increased revenue of $5.6 billion and $283 million in net income. It is seeing emerging markets like China, India, and Brazil develop a growing interest in denim fashion. In 2018, the denim market grew four percent to a worldwide retail value of more than $100 billion.
Market analysts estimate the IPO will raise between $600 million and $800 million. Levi’s plans to use the money to expand its customization clothing options to a younger market, which collabs like Abloh’s plays a direct role in. It will also use the money for operating expenses, working capital, and further global expansion.
With a growing youth market, reliant hip-hop culture, emerging markets, and a resurgence in denim fashion, Levi’s has an opportunity to use the money to become a bigger brand worldwide.
Situational Awareness: It will be interesting to see as a publicly-traded company, how Levi’s culture, branding, and values change as it appeals to consumers and stockholders. Also, the fashion industry and youth market tend to be fickle groups that Levi’s will have to heavily rely on to appease stockholders’ financial portfolios.
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