Here’s how Levi’s cemented its 501 cutoff shorts as Coachella’s ‘go-to uniform,’ sending sales up 50%

Beyonce performing in Levi's cutoff shorts at Coachella in 2018.

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Beyonce performing in Levi’s cutoff shorts at Coachella in 2018.
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Larry Busacca/Getty

  • Sales of Levi’s 501 cutoff shorts soared last quarter after the brand splurged on marketing them as Coachella’s unofficial uniform.
  • “We again dominated Coachella as the go-to uniform for festival season with Levi’s 501 cutoff shorts, which were up more than 50% this quarter, taking center stage,” CEO Charles Bergh said on the denim giant’s earnings call this week.
  • Levi’s fed the hype by handing out more than 1,000 pairs of cutoffs to Coachella attendees, outfitting celebrities in jeans and shorts, and throwing a party with Hailey Bieber.
  • Watch Levi’s trade live.

Sales of Levi’s 501 cutoff shorts soared last quarter after the brand splurged on marketing them as Coachella’s unofficial uniform.

“We again dominated Coachella as the go-to uniform for festival season with Levi’s 501 cutoff shorts, which were up more than 50% this quarter, taking center stage,” CEO Charles Bergh said on the denim giant’s earnings call this week.

The shorts literally took center stage at the California festival last year, when Beyoncé wore a pair during her opening performance. The cutoffs were swiftly labeled the “ultimate Coachella clothing item” by People magazine, helping Levi’s to achieve 5.8 billion global brand impressions from the festival.

The jeans maker doubled down on cutoffs at Coachella this year. It handed out more than 1,000 pairs to attendees, Levi’s marketing chief told Fashionista. It outfitted Snoop Dogg, Emily Ratajkowski, and other celebrity performers and attendees in 501 jeans or shorts. It also threw a party hosted by Hailey Bieber, the new face of the clothing line, outside the festival.

Levi’s has continued to tap into popular culture in order to cultivate a young, fun brand image. It recently launched a line of “Stranger Things” attire to correspond with the release of the Netflix series’ third season.

“It’s really resonating and it does speak to the power of some of these collaborations and how it can just put us right at the center of culture when we nail one like that,” Bergh said on the call.

However, Levi’s hasn’t lived up to the hype since rejoining the stock market earlier this year. Its shares slumped more than 6% on Tuesday after its earnings fell short of analysts’ expectations.