“Levi’s Commuter collection - Levi’s has modified their classic items with consideration of cyclists in mind. Improvements such as water resistance, stretch fabric, reflective details, U-lock holder, and ventilation makes these items ideal for urban cyclists.”
I wonder if they make women’s commuters!
Short answer: no, they do not.
Long, feminist critique answer: In a patriarchal society, men are seen as the default/normal and women are seen as the other/abnormal and are often treated as if we don’t have our own needs. Levi’s has provided us with a great example of this phenomenon with their Commuter line.
Levi’s is a company that caters basically equally to men & women (for this discussion we’ll stick to the binary because Levi’s divides their clothes into those categories). It’s reasonable to assume Levi’s is aware that women ride bikes (or at least I really, really hope so). Since they’re based here in San Francisco, it’s also reasonable to assume they are aware that women ride bikes in cities, under all weather conditions. So we’ve established that Levi’s is a company that makes women’s clothes and is aware of women being urban cyclists.
Levi’s came out with one model of men’s commuter jeans last year. We can give them a pass on this one - men do dominate the urban cycling market, and if it was a one-product test to see if Levi’s could break into that market, that one product should be for men. With this line expansion, it’s clear their first offering was successful and they intend to move into cycling apparel. But according to Levi’s, everyone in the cycling market is male. This they do not get a pass on.
Look at the copy for this line (quoted by Fixed Gear Girls). This line keeps the needs of “cyclists” in mind, but it does not include women’s styles or any acknowledgment of this absence. Levi’s sends a message with this copy and the accompanying video that only men are serious commuters - women probably don’t go out when it’s raining, right? Our hair will get messed up or something? Hell, in the world of Levi’s Commuter, women don’t even exist. You’d think if their men’s jeans were successful enough to warrant a full line that they would try the same process with women’s - one pair of jeans, with a line to follow if it sells.
But no. There’s not even a mention of a women’s line coming soon, or a recognition that we might want one. Levi’s insults women cyclists by pretending we don’t exist, insinuating that we should settle for making do with “normal” (ie men’s) tailoring, a dismissal we see often in areas where things intended for men just don’t work for us. Depressingly, responses to this sort of complaint often boil down to “Gee, I guess we just forgot men’s needs are not the only ones out there!” It’s frustrating for women, and it’s also a bad call on Levi’s part - they’re shutting out a whole market and potentially offending that market in the process. It doesn’t help that, so far as I’ve been told, Levi’s has ignored all questions or complaints from women about why they don’t think we’re serious enough cyclists to get specialized clothes.
Levi’s does have one women’s-only line - their Curve ID range is intended to provide a “perfect” fit for every woman’s body. But they don’t have this for men, even though men have just as wide a variety of body types and corresponding fit issues. The conclusion? Levi’s likes gender roles. Ladies get pants that “show off” our curves but are actually intended to focus our attention on “fixing” our physical flaws; dudes get pants they can actually do stuff in, things that are tailored to be practical and focus their attention on activity. It seems this company hasn’t changed as much since 1853 as we might like to think. That’s pretty embarrassing.
More reading on the significance of omitting women here.