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Levi’s Debuts Backpacks Made Completely From Plastic Bottles

COVID-19 recovery is on the horizon but the pandemic's impact on sustainability, retail, product development and consumer buying patterns means the denim industry must evolve. Join Rivet on April 20th at 11 am ET for the COVID, One Year Later roundtable.

With a single product drop, Levi’s demonstrates its continuous commitment to sustainability and its preparedness for any situation come fall: a series of backpacks made of recycled plastic and discarded scraps.

The heritage denim brand recently revamped its L-Pack and L-Pack 2.0 backpack styles to include 100 percent recycled polyester sourced from plastic bottles. They feature all of the necessary components, including laptop sleeves, front pocket organizers, water bottle pockets and straps with webbing.

Ranging from $35-$65, the sustainable backpacks come in a variety of styles and colors, including pastel purple, mustard yellow, a dark green autumn-leaf print and multi-toned grays and blues. They are available in regular, small and mini sizes.

But while backpacks are often positioned as a back-to-school item, the continuing COVID-19 pandemic has changed brands’ marketing tactics. In its consumer-facing email promoting the new backpack collection, Levi’s omitted any mention of the back-to-school season, and instead noted that the accessories are “perfect for going anywhere.”

This points to a challenge many throughout the fashion industry are facing as U.S. school re-openings remain unclear. Some experts predict that the season will be delayed, as recent data from the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics showed consumers had only completed 17 percent of their back-to-school shopping by early July. Historically, the majority of shopping is done in July and August.

Retail watchers are also anticipating that the pandemic will encourage consumers to shop more mindfully. Levi’s use of recycled materials responds to this demand, and points to its dedication to sustainability. This week, the brand introduced its most sustainable jean yet made with Circulose, Re:newcell’s breakthrough material that includes 20 percent recycled denim and 20 percent sustainably sourced viscose.

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