Behind The Scenes: How The Levi’s Holiday Windows Come To Life

Levi Strauss & Co.
December 22, 2014

For Gregory Gordon, Senior Manager of Levi’s® Global Creative Services, Christmas kicks off in February. That’s when he starts considering next year’s creative plans for the Levi’s holiday windows. Gordon works with a small team at the LS&Co. headquarters in San Francisco, taking into account factors such as Levi’s marketing campaigns of the season, current industry trends, and windows of seasons past, to orchestrate windows ranging from 2 to 70 feet across at roughly 2400 locations globally.

Sound like a dream job? Unzipped checked in with the design guru to learn more about how he creates delightful scenes every season.

What was the theme of the Levi’s holiday windows this time around?

This season, the holiday windows are the embodiment of how Live in Levi’s would translate into the holidays: coming together and being with the people that you love. We took the concept of warmth and nostalgia, and put it through the Levi’s lens, adding modernity to it. One of the identifying symbols that worked for the Live in Levi’s campaign was the Polaroid—so we strung Polaroid photos on garlands. We made trees out of them. There is a sense of craft and playfulness that goes back to people coming together.

What are the biggest challenges of creating the windows?

With any of our windows, we try to create something that could work anywhere around the globe. Holiday is the hardest. We have stores in India where they celebrate Diwali. Then there’s the Southern Hemisphere, where it’s 90 degrees. We have to keep in mind which elements will work all over the world.

Also, budget. Holiday windows are more expensive because there are more elements involved. And we have to think about scale and regional accessibility. This year we used a wooden deer head and we had to consider: Can we get the wooden deer heads to Asia and Latin America?

Photographed by Mark Trent.

Photographed by Mark Trent.

How do Levi’s holiday windows set themselves apart from other companies’ windows?

When I started three years ago, my goal was to make the windows less disposable. My first initiative was to create elements that lasted for a full six months. This year, we introduced a louver system. Every month we reinvent the louvers and make them look different. We have used the same louvers since July—and then we had to make them Christmas windows! It’s fun, but challenging.

We also use natural materials. We don’t use fiber boards and things that put off gasses. The wood and steel that we use have no finish, no varnish. If it’s got some rust on it and starts to weather—that’s what it’s about. Levi’s is about honest material. True to brand, we try to make everything simplistic, clean, and pure for the environment.

How was this holiday season different than previous ones?

This year, more than ever, everything was a cohesive package: the decor inside the store, the windows, the video, Instagram, the website, and the emails all had the same look. They all incorporated the Polaroids, the wood, and the lights. When customers are inside the store and shopping on their phone, we need to give them the same experience across all channels.

What do you see as the future of holiday windows?

Shopping directly from a window is just around the corner. Customers will scan the window to buy what’s on the mannequin or in the photography. The one thing that I hope doesn’t go away though is the sense of realness. I don’t want to just see a barcode. Here at LS&Co., we are committed to building real windows. We’ll always have that thread back to our heritage and honest beginnings—because that’s what we’re about.