Seven (hundred and seventy-five million) for All Mankind


Depending on your perspective, Los Angeles today may have either lost or regained a small slice of its soul. Seven For All Mankind Jeans has been sold to North Carolina-based VF Corporation for a sum that can only be described as “whopping” $775 Million. The Los Angeles-founded brand affected culture in a way few do, pioneering the high-end jeans market with its launch in 2000.

For kicks, a bit of unintelligible business press release-ese follows. (Which I swear is its own distinct dialect of English):

“These brands extend our reach to important and growing consumer segments, broaden our presence in healthy and growing channels of distribution, provide us with additional vehicles to expand our direct-to-consumer business through owned retail stores and online sales and offer the potential for continued growth internationally,” said Mackey McDonald, chief executive of VF…

With acquisition of Seven, VF Corp is one step closer to total brand domination. Their portfolio already includes Blue Chip brands Wrangler, Lee Jeans, Vans, JanSport and North Face. Perhaps it’s only a matter of time before we see Sevens on racks in Target under their ownership.

But did Seven cash out of the jeans game at the right time? Take, for example, as a current indicator of the stupefying absurdities towards which the high-end jeans racket has drifted, that apparently none other than Damien Hirst has recently decided to design high-end Levi’s for their ’Warhol Factory X line (who knew?) of Levi’s for 2008. Are mass-produced Hirst/Warhol co-branded Levi’s the culmination of the genre; the ironic death blow? Laughing right in consumers’ faces while taking ever more of their money for the same exact product?

Good riddances all around then, perhaps.