Bart Sights, vice president of technical innovation at Levi Strauss & Co., is leading the company into a new era of customization.
As vice president of technical innovation at Levi Strauss & Co., Bart Sights leads the historical brand’s Eureka Innovation Lab, overseeing the formulation of inventive new fibers, fabrics, fits and finishes.
A die-hard denim head, the Kentucky-native is inspired by Levi’s 166-year legacy and lasting cultural impact. Sights challenges himself to reinterpret the brand’s historical successes for a modern era, keeping Levi’s denim as relevant and indispensable to consumers today as it has been for decades.
In 2019, he achieved this by playing a vital role in the launch of Future Finish, Levi’s new customization offering using laser technology.
Why are you drawn to denim?
The inherent quality of denim—the wearing and abrading and fading—creates a walking history of yourself. It captures your experiences in a way unseen in apparel. I have always been drawn to that emotional relationship with a pair of jeans.
How can the supply chain improve the way it communicates sustainable technology to brands?
At Levi Strauss & Co., we have a strong link between our supply chain and communications teams, and we work together to communicate advancements in sustainability, where we might influence the industry to follow our progress towards a cleaner jean, and thus a better planet.
How do you predict the denim supply chain will change in the next 10 years?
Ten years is a long way out, but I believe, in general, that supply chains will become more and more sustainable, enabling the continued movement to producing in closer and closer proximity to the markets for which we supply.
What makes the denim supply chain unique from other apparel sectors?
Denim is “finished,” which has traditionally meant greater complexity compared to other segments of apparel. Those complexities have included the requirement of a lot of manual applications and the use of a lot of chemistry. We are excited about the potential of our F.L.X. technology, which fueled the development of our Future Finish online customization offer, to eliminate these complexities, to dramatically reduce the number of chemicals used in the finishing stage, and to drive our industry towards a more sustainable way of working with denim.
What’s exciting you about denim in 2019?
In 2019, we are excited about using our F.L.X. technology to power a consumer experience like Future Finish. The ability to let the consumer tell us what they want, when they want it, before we have to make a product, will be powerful in the future.