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Mot-clé

30/11/2006 - par Mark Tungate

The buzzword of the week came whizzing at me out of nowhere yesterday. I was in rue Étienne-Marcel, in Paris, for the launch of Levi's new flagship store : a handsome place with natural wood floors and walls swathed in copper. One of the store's gimmicks is a customisation service. Want extra belt loops on your jeans ? No problem. How about your name spelled out in rivets ? You only have to ask. I was there interviewing the company's European product manager, a young man of Vietnamese origins called You N'Guyen (« Call me Mister You », he said, like a character from a Bond movie.). I told him I thought customisation was an important marketing strategy these days, as customers increasingly demanded individual attention.

« I think we use the word customisation too often, » said Mister You. « I prefer the word "appropriation". Today, customers don't want to be sold products that are invented for them by other people. They want to take products and make them their own. They alter them to reflect their own personalities. And our jeans are a perfect example of that trend. Denim is a blank canvas. Once you've bought a pair of jeans, you can do whatever you want with them. You can design your own look. And the French customer is the most inventive of all. »

This explains why jeans are so popular : they are the ultimate functional garment, totally bland and yet filled with latent creative possibilities. So, a lifestyle trend is born : let's appropriate.

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