Any editor will tell you that the most panicked we’ll get — besides being on deadline — is when we lose a notebook. A few months before I rejoined the MR team, I started keeping all my notes electronically (GoodNotes and an iPad combined with OtterAI: Life changing!), and yet I still somehow managed to lose track of some of my notes for the denim report we ran earlier this year. Turns out Mark D’Angelo of Liverpool Los Angeles was kind enough to overlook my ADHD, so we reconvened again recently so I could reconstruct the story.
Liverpool Los Angeles launched originally in 2012 as a woman’s brand, adding men’s in 2017 as an exclusive for Stitch Fix. Wholesale for the rest of the market started in 2018. The brand was part of that “just under $100” magic price point that became popular in the post-classical days of premium denim, and though the company’s men’s business may have been “grandfathered” into the women’s existing partnership with Stitch Fix, it quickly established its own retail base. Liverpool men’s is now carried in Nordstrom and Von Maur, as well as at specialty stores like Levy’s of Nashville, Tenn., Milton’s of Braintree, Mass., and even at Midwest outdoor outfitter Scheel’s.
Mark D’Angelo, Liverpool’s vice president of sales, who has been with the brand since the beginning, says business has been excellent: “We saw increases in both 2020 and 2021 of 30-45%. We were already set up for ecom and drop ship, with Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, and our own site, and all those guys who were working from home had some time to shop online and do some research. They found that Liverpool offered great fitting, good-looking, premium quality product with a great price/value proposition. Our specialty store business rebounded in 2021, and a lot of the independents have embraced us post-pandemic, with a greater appreciation and understanding of our pricing.”
The brand tends to be the opening price point in denim at most stores, starting at about $109 (up from $98 before the supply chain got stressed). D’Angelo describes his customer as “16 to 80,” starting with a younger guy whose parents aren’t spending a lot of money on jeans because the kid is still growing, to the young pro in his 20s who wants a premium look but is on a tight budget. Here he skips a few years (just wait) to young fathers whose disposable income is being spent on their kids.
Don’t count out that thirty-something premium denim customer, though. D’Angelo says “that guy is often looking for a particular brand, but the sales associate will convince him to try on a pair (or two) of our jeans while he’s in the dressing room. At this price point and with this fit and quality, it becomes not only an easy add-on sale but also helps build the transaction, because now the associate can sell more tops!”
Liverpool launched a sweater business in 2021, retailing for $79 to $98; and Fall 2022 sees a full collection of shirts, knits, and jackets.
Business is built on three basic, if decisive, fits: The most popular is a modern straight fit that works well with a blazer. A relaxed straight fit (15 ½” leg opening), is popular in the Midwest where guys are wearing it with work and cowboy boots, as well as with athletic guys who need a little extra room. Finally, a skinny fit makes up about four percent of the business, popular with more urban stores where the guy who works out still wants to show off a bit. A recently introduced “sneaker jean has a bit of a 1960s retro feel; a bit fuller at the top and slightly cropped (meant to be rolled at the cuff) to show off the season’s popular sneaker styles (canvas high-tops).
The brand includes 30, 32, and 34-inch inseams (“…especially important for narrower bottom jeans because just cutting off jeans to fit can alter the proportions,” says D’Angelo). Waist sizes run from 28 to 42, and include 31, 33, and 35. All fits feature a clean finish with minimal branding.
Colored denim has been important for the brand, including cotton twill five-pockets. The Fall palette includes rich earth tones like rye, tobacco, bark, and pine grove. So far Spring has seen success with modified neutrals like “tumbleweed,” a beige/gray tone, as well as new shades of blue and green in natural colorways.
The brand is putting a big push behind sustainability as its retail partners emphasize the importance. The Fall Collection includes 8 sustainable denim washes with an ongoing effort to increase our green footprint to encompass our entire denim collection in the coming seasons. Liverpool currently uses eco-friendly fibers including BCI-certified organic cotton, CiCLO and EcoVero, and has converted all packaging to recycled and biodegradable poly bag. To learn more about Liverpool, contact Mark D’Angelo at email@example.com.