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New Warhol/Levi’s Apparel Line Looks to Be ‘a Natural Fit’

The Andy Warhol Foundation, Manhattan, and Levi Strauss & Co., San Francisco, have announced a licensing agreement for a line of clothing called Warhol Factory X Levi’s, a reference to the name of Warhol’s New York studio in the 1960s. The new clothing line will feature designs based on the pop artist’s original artworks.

NEW YORK—The Andy Warhol Foundation, Manhattan, and Levi Strauss & Co., San Francisco, have announced a licensing agreement for a line of clothing called Warhol Factory X Levi’s, a reference to the name of Warhol’s New York studio in the 1960s. The new clothing line will feature designs based on the pop artist’s original artworks.

Levi’s, which is hoping to shore up its flagging sales figures of recent years, said the collection is “designed to pay homage to the collective iconography of both the Levi’s brand and Andy Warhol’s famed pop-culture art.” Starting in spring 2006, the new collection will be sold in U.S. and Canadian stores. It will feature jeans priced from $190/300 and tops from $80/300.

“This is a match made in heaven. It’s such a natural fit,” Michael Hermann, director of licensing for the nonprofit Warhol Foundation, told ARTnewsletter. “Levi’s is an iconic American brand. Warhol wore them and painted them. The spirit of the clothing line will be youthful and cutting-edge. You’re not going to be seeing a square image of a Campbell’s Soup can on a T-shirt.”

Hermann, who says he is not free to comment on the revenue structure of the licensing agreement, does describe it as “substantial and a significant deal for us.” The foundation has two other licensing agreements in the works that also will begin retailing next spring. These include a licensing deal with bag and accessory company Loop, for items including handbags and belts, as well as an agreement with watchmaker Seiko, according to Hermann.

Prices for Warhol’s artworks have soared in the last decade, both privately and at auction. Last year New York dealer Larry Gagosian privately sold his Superman, 1961, for $25 million, the highest-known price paid for a Warhol work. The best auction price to date is the $17.3 million fetched for his 1964 silkscreen Orange Marilyn, sold by Sotheby’s in May 1998. Last fall an auction buyer shelled out $15.1 million for the artist’s 1963 diptych Mustard Race Riot at Christie’s.

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