Whether you have ever glanced at this blog or know me personally, I’ve always proclaimed my love for Lucky Brand Dungarees. I’ve suggested Pear Shapely gals buy Sweet-N-Low jeans, have nothing but Lucky Jeans in my wardrobe and previously have been a loyal employee and representative for the line.
That being said, the newest offerings from the manufacturer break my heart. The season look like an All-American fashion mash-up of the Gap, Polo and Abercrombie and Fitch, yawn. The even sadder reality is that the jeans are no longer being made in America.
When the brand first started it was based on Gene Montesano and Barry Perlman’s “ …life long passions [of] blue jeans and rock ‘n’ roll.” There is nothing more American then those two staples and 1990 marked the year that Lucky Brand was born. Part of the beauty of the product is that the founders stayed loyal to the motto “Rooted in Rock-n-Roll” and even after Liz Claiborne became the major share holder (May 1999, Liz acquired 85 percent of Lucky,) the jeans were hand made and finished right in the factory in Vernon California.
That is until recently. According to the current Wikipedia page (and past promotional material from the company) “Lucky products are manufactured in the USA, Mexico and Sri Lanka. All USA-manufactured Lucky jeans are made in Vernon, near downtown Los Angeles. In addition, the jeans manufactured in the United States are all hand-made, and all the detailing is done by hand, except for the actual washing process.” Consumers just need to check the website for the “COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Imported” copy to know that this is no longer true.
Much to my chagrin, Lucky Jeans are now being made abroad. From a business perspective, it is a smart money saving trick as everyone knows labor in Mexico and Vietnam costs far less than manufacturing in the country. However, consumers need to be aware of the changes. Lucky is not passing these savings to consumers they are pocketing the difference. In doing so, there will be more sales and discounts for consumers to enjoy, but they are doing far less to invest in our local infrastructure. Admittedly, it is not their job to support the entire economy, but part of my love for the line came from the fact that they did.
It is obvious that money talks in this country, and that is why I make the effort to support local businesses whenever I can. Now since the Lucky look has been homogenized beyond their original concept and they have changed their manufacturing venue, my love for them has wavered. Since I left the company, I know that there have been many changes not only to the product quality but also throughout the corporation. Customers and staff that were Lucky Brand loyalists are not shining a positive light on the direction in which Lucky is headed.
If any Lucky Brand Representative reads this post, I invite you to partake in a dialogue to explain the changes. If you don’t want to speak with me directly, I understand. However, right now it needs to be noted that the denim you are selling is not worth the current price point of around $100 per jean. The production revisions you made will allow you to manufacture each for pennies to make.
My suggestion is to lower the price point on the internationally made jeans and still offer your American made denim at the regular price point. That way you will still maintain your roots while expanding your market share.