What could an iconic jeans maker and a technology juggernaut have in common?
Aside from common Bay Area roots, the Levi’s® brand and Google share another distinction: Levi’s innovations have transformed the way people live. Blue jeans, Levi’s gold-rush era invention, forever changed the way the world dresses, while Google’s search technology transformed the way the world discovers information.
Now, the two companies are working together to tackle a new challenge. Today, at Google I/O 2015, Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group unveiled Project Jacquard and named the Levi’s® brand its first official partner.
The goal of Google’s Project Jacquard is to confront the historical limitations of wearable technologies by decoupling the touch interface from the digital device. Jacquard makes garments interactive — simple gestures like tapping or swiping send a wireless signal to the wearer’s mobile device and activate functionality, such as silencing phone calls or sending a text message.
“When it came to choosing a first partner for Project Jacquard, the Levi’s brand was a natural fit,” said Ivan Poupyrev, a Technical Product Lead (TPL) for Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group. “Levi’s is an iconic brand with deep Bay area roots — authentic and also highly innovative and fashionable. Levi’s brings to Jacquard their deep knowledge and understanding of apparel, their consumers and what they value.”
The Levi Strauss & Co. innovation story began with the invention of the blue jean 142 years ago, but that was merely the first chapter. From the debut of the first jeans for women in 1934 to the revolutionary work that goes on in Levi’s Eureka Innovation Lab today, they are constantly innovating to solve the needs of their consumers and give them clothes that make their lives better and easier.
For example, in 1937, Levi’s introduced a concealed back-pocket rivet in response to consumers who complained their jeans were scratching their furniture and saddles. In the 1940s, Levi’s launched a Levi’s ® 501® jean with a zipper fly (called the 501Z) for new-to-Levi’s consumers in the eastern United States unaccustomed to our traditional button-fly. In the 1960s, Levi’s incorporated nylon into our pants, creating an early version of today’s stretch jeans and Levi’s introduced the 606 Super Slims, a precursor to today’s skinny jeans. In the 1980s, Levi’s revolutionized men’s wardrobes with the introduction of Dockers khakis — giving birth to Casual Fridays and an option between suits and jeans.
“Levi’s has always stayed true to our iconic products, while continuing to introduce innovations that address the current challenges of modern life,” said Paul Dillinger, our head of global product innovation, who took the stage at Google I/O this morning. “In our hyper-digital world, people constantly struggle to be physically present in their environment while maintaining a digital connection. The work that Google and Levi’s are embarking upon with Project Jacquard delivers an entirely new value to consumers with apparel that is emotional, aspirational and functional.”