Heritage Levi’s will get more (Artificially) Intelligent- Hires Katie Walsh


It is said that the new leadership under Walsh will focus on building ‘data, analytics and artificial-intelligence enablers.

For Levis, heritage is everything. If you buy a pair of 501s, what you get is more than just a pair of denims. It’s essentially the rugged style first made for California gold-rush prospectors in 1873. You are then wearing what was the attire of icons from Marlon Brando to Kurt Cobain down the generations.

But stepping into the digital era, technology will need to become a big part of the brand- even though a lot of customers do not associate Levi Strauss & Co. with technology. To keep up with the times, Levis is now moving towards leveraging technology to retain its top spot as THE denim brand. And it has just hired its first artificial intelligence officer -Katia Walsh. Interestingly, Walsh had the last responsibility of being Vodafone’s chief data and analytics officer, and on April 29th, she will be joining Levis as its chief intelligence officer. Her job will be to “focus on building “data, analytics and artificial-intelligence enablers” that will strengthen the company’s present and future business ventures, according to a company statement. Walsh comes to Levis with over twenty years of experience with big data, analytics, machine learning and AI. She has worked for a broad range of companies all the way from Forrester Research to Prudential Financial.

Though there aren’t any specific technologies mentioned, it is most likely that, given Walsh’s expertise is AI, she will be building on AI and digital efforts for the brand.

This is not the first time Levis has made a move towards intelligence driven artificially. In 2017 Levi launched a virtual-stylist feature on its website, when customers received fashion advice from a smart AI driven chatbots, then making customised recommendations. It also partnered with Google to produce its Project Jacquard cycling jacket, designed for the urban commuter. Interestingly, the jacket—woven with conductive Jacquard thread—links to wearers’ mobile devices via Bluetooth, so they can access music, phone calls or directions by simply tapping the cuff.

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