Earlier this year, Levi Strauss & Co. created a standalone Dockers® organization within the company that is autonomous and accountable for bringing the brand back to health. We sat down with Santiago Cucci, Global Head, Dockers®, to learn more what the Dockers® team has been working on as the brand leans into sustainability.
Tell us a bit about the recently announced Work Forward campaign and the new three-year partnership with Waves For Water founder Jon Rose.
As a brand, we’ve made a definitive pivot toward sustainability focused initiatives, with our commitment broadening to include both the planet and people. This means that we are thinking about both environmental and social sustainability, because what is good for the environment is good for society — and vice versa. Work Forward helps us to tell that story — that as an apparel brand we’re doing the work of reducing our environmental impact on water while also recognizing the human side of the global water crisis.
I think our partnership with Jon and his organization, Waves For Water, exemplifies the direction we’re headed. Dockers® has been using Water<Less® techniques for 10 years, and Waves For Water has been addressing safe water access for communities around the world for 10 years. The next step for both of us is to take our commitment and our impact to the next level. Through our partnership, we’re able to address both sides of the global water crisis and make a collective and measurable impact. We’re really looking forward to what we can accomplish together.
How do these initiatives represent the “Dockers® guy” while also tying into the brand’s overall sustainability work?
Ultimately, we believe that the “Dockers® guy” cares about more than just himself. You’ll begin to see more and more values-based communication from the brand, and we’re confident that that resonates with the people who buy our pants. In fact, our updated mission statement reads: To combine passion and purpose in the pursuit of great product that inspires sustainable change.
As a casualwear, lifestyle brand, “great product” is something we will continue to prioritize. I think our target demographic appreciates a more relaxed approach to fashion and elements of versatility, while never compromising on style. While we deliver on that, I do believe that it is also our responsibility to dig deeper and identify the ways we can make even more of a difference.
How does the focus on sustainability tie into the Dockers® brand’s overall growth strategy?
That’s a great question. As a brand rooted in California, we have a deep love of the natural world. The California landscape has mountains, deserts, beaches, lakes, oceans, valleys and more, and to enjoy this landscape is to also take responsibility for preserving it for future generations. The ideology of the West Coast is to ambitiously pursue what drives you while also living a life of passion and enjoyment.
This is what we embrace at Dockers® — ambitiously pursuing great product creation and inspiring sustainable change along the way. It starts at home with us, with how we operate as a business and what we build. Dockers® has always been a brand that “walks the talk,” and today we’re applying that same commitment to our impact on the planet.
Consumers are becoming more and more aware of climate change and the role major industries, like apparel, have in combating —or furthering — its impact on our world. Consumers also want to see that the brands speaking to sustainability are really doing the work, so authenticity here is paramount. That’s why sustainability is foundational to our future success.
What can we expect to see from Dockers® in the near future?
2021 marks the 35th anniversary of Dockers®, and we’re celebrating by mixing the old with the new. We’re bringing back some of the best khakis from our archive and introducing new icons — all made more sustainably. We also have some very exciting projects in the works with Waves For Water early in 2021, new collaborations and even more digitization initiatives to optimize our GTM. We can’t share everything just yet, but there is so much to look forward to. We’re excited for all of you to keep up with the Dockers® journey!