*If you’ve opened a magazine or looked at a billboard anytime in the past few months, you’ve heard of Levi’s new Curve ID jeans. This summer, Levi’s launched a new fit system for their denim based on a woman’s body shape, instead of her size.

The company performed body scans of 60,000 women around the world and identified three main body types – “slight curve,” “demi curve,” and “bold curve” – which fit 80 percent of women.  Exciting news, right?

Lots of bloggers and feminist activists were un-enthused – some going so far as to call the ad campaign “racist.” The ad campaign’s headline, “All curves are not created equal,” was criticized as seeming to privilege some body types over others.

Furthermore, like most denim companies, Levi’s Curve ID jeans went up to a size 14 – hardly what some people would consider “curvy.” Finally, the main page of the Levi’s Curve ID website featured an image of three light-skinned models (the top image with the yellow background), despite the fact that many black and Latina women struggle to find jeans to fit.

If you kept on clicking through Levi’s Curve ID website, there was a digital gallery with pictures of dozens of real women of all shapes and sizes and ethnicities in different jeans. However, a lot of bloggers were frustrated that the women with the largest curves and the darker-skinned women were not front-and-center in the campaign.

Earlier this week, TheFrisky.com’s Jessica Wakeman spoke with two bigwigs at Levi’s to get the inside scoop. Mary Alderete is the vice president of global women’s marketing for Levi Strauss & Co. and Alexa Rudin is the company’s director of global communications.

Both seemed well-prepared in advance with the positive spin they wanted to put on the Curve ID narrative: buzz words like “authentic,” “honesty” and even “authentic honesty” were dropped often.  It was also clear from speaking with Levi’s that they have a corporate mindset. Alderete and Rudin kept referring to the company’s “mission”; they spoke of curves being “aspirational” as if they are a trend; and when discussing things they would have done differently on the Curve ID campaign, they called it “a learning experience.”  

Here’s what Alderete, had to say in response to the controversy:

“Ethnic diversity is not a checklist for us. It’s truly part of our value system and our philosophy around women. That’s really important to us as a brand. It’s unfortunate the Curve ID ad campaign came across as being one-dimensional. We actually shot Caucasian women, African-American women and Hispanic women, but what ended up being more visible was what looked like a one-dimensional presentation of women.”

Read more at TheFrisky.com.

Alexandra McDougald
Stuntman Public Relations
[email protected]