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The future of jeans: Inside the Levi’s innovation lab bringing denim into 2019

How does Levi’s leverage technology to make tomorrow’s jeans designs? Take a look here.

A pair of jeans is just a few pieces denim sewed together, right? Well, not exactly. Maybe some $20 knockoffs were hastily made, but for decades Levi Strauss has agonized over how to create new designs and how to learn from past ones. Meanwhile, it’s invested in new ways to make the prototyping process less time-consuming.

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The company’s San Francisco-based Eureka Lab, which has been around for over five years, is where the jeans giant toys around with new ideas. This innovation hub is where Levi’s looks at past jeans designs, thinks about future ones, and then puts it all together. Using a new platform called FLX, which mixes technologies like digital imaging and laser etching, the company can create new prototypes (or replicate past ones) on an iPad and then have it sent to a machine, which then prints the final product.

In the past, the process of finishing a pair of jeans took hours of manual and meticulous labor. A person would have to physically and precisely tear or thin out parts of the fabric in order to create the intended effect. At Eureka, Levi’s has automated the process–making it possible for the brand to test more designs. This kind of technology also paves the way for more product personalization.

Fast Company recently stopped by and got a glimpse at how Levi’s is taking its industry-leading history and using that to create the future of fashion. As the first of our six-part of our innovation video series, we wanted to highlight future-making endeavors like the future of jeans fashion. The hub showcases Levi’s jeans’ history and shows us how we can create new from old, and FLX is a perfect example of how legacy brands are using new technologies to stay agile.

With a 360-degree camera, we walked around the innovation lab, showing just hypnotizing and encompassing the world of jeans can be. Take a look at the space–and be sure you look in all directions.

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About the author

Cale is a Brooklyn-based reporter. He writes about many things.

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