I am bummed to miss this evening's showcasing of Levi's spring 2012 "Commuter Collection" at Orange 20 Bikes in L.A. tonight at 7:00 pm. To make myself feel better I watched the hip video above posted on Bikeable Communities, and then I watched it again because it seemed to be missing something. Yep, I wasn't imagining it - there are absolutely no women in this video. Huh? There also does not appear to be any "Commuter Collection" for women who ride bicycles yet either, but I'll get back to that in a minute.
In the video a handful of young, attractive, racially diverse, bicycle commuting men are followed intermingled-ly in different city-scapes as they commute by bicycle throughout their day. At least one is obviously going to an office. But none of them appear to have any social life whatsoever, there are no scenes of hanging out with friends, and none of the young men appear to have such a thing as a date, let alone a girlfriend or a wife. There also appear to be few, if any, other people who live in these cities as well. Levi's states this line is about Form.Function.Cycling. They apparently forgot that it's fun (both of the "Commuting" videos I watched are studies in solitude).
Okay, yes the videos do a great job of pointing out how these new pants and t's work well for one who rides a bike frequently (they repell water and odor!) but they seem to be pointing to a life of isolation and loner-ism for the young male bike commuter. What's up with that?
I looked around a bit on Youtube and found a video on Levi's fall 2012 look book and V.P. of Global Creative Direction Len Peltier states, "Our brand has always been about personal choices." So does that mean Levi's somehow got the idea that young male bicycle commuters are like to be lonely?
Dear Levi's, I love you but where are the women? You've been promoting this bicycle commuter pant now for at least six months. You've been wise in this move, getting out ahead of the pack and foreseeing that the bike would be hot hot hot for young people choosing the bike as a smart, cost effective urban transit tool, but where are the young women who are the romantic interests of these young men? And where are the women who ride along with them as friends and colleagues?
Levi's I invite you, I implore you, to remember that your jeans have always brought a sense of freedom and "can do" spirit to young women - so let's get real about what young women are doing when they wear your jeans! They aren't just standing around a desert for a photo shoot, they aren't just lounging, or dawdling about as they appear to be on your website. They are doing. They are running, skipping, jumping, riding horses and yes, riding bikes.
Levi's there is an incredible opportunity here for you to show true inspiration and leadership by creating a bicycling commuter pant for women as well as men. Why hire professionals models? Why not showcase the young women around our fair country who are keeping up with the boys on bikes? I hereby officially and formally invite you to create a female bicycle commuter pant for your Spring 2013 collection and debut it at our "Cycle Chic: Past, Present & Future" urban bicycle show "celebrating dressing for the destination" on September 13, 2012. Write to me firstname.lastname@example.org let's talk! We've got Mikael Colville-Andersen of Copenhagen coming, Mr. Cycle Chic himself - we'll have a great time.
Just in case you need some recommendations of the sort of dynamic and photogenic young women who are putting bicycling on the map let me introduce you to Nicole Maltz above. The co-owner of The Bicycle Stand (a very popular female friendly bike shop here in Long Beach) Nicole is a passionate bicycle advocate, bike repair specialist, and bike commuter. This shot of her was taken a few weeks ago by our own photographer Allan Crawford when she delivered a bike for a photo shoot.
Levi's we live in a land where our youth is challenged with the fallout from sedentary diseases. Gas prices and traffic congestion are high. The bike is the obvious answer for so many of these challenges, especially for the young. We need leadership and inspiration to help us get up and going in new ways. Please consider the power of your influence.
Melissa Balmer - Editor/Initiative Director, Women On Bikes SoCal