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No Longer Hip to Wear Levi's

January 12, 2003

Thank you for having the guts to publish "Levi Strauss and the Price We Pay" (by Fred Dickey, Dec. 1). Dickey did us all a great service by illuminating the full scope of globalization and our role in it as consumers. This article took all the pleasure out of buying cheap goods for me. Until our country develops a conscience and starts demanding fair working conditions and pay for those who toil in foreign countries, I will not buy these tainted goods. All of us should do the same.

Simone Butler

Los Angeles

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Philip A. Marineau and the rest of the executive team at Levi Strauss have done a great job in trashing Levi's brand image by moving its manufacturing to contracted sweatshop suppliers overseas. A pair of Levi's 501s used to stand for qualities we like to think of as distinctly American: honesty, integrity, well-made, rugged, self-reliance and individuality. I wore them proudly because they were Made in America and they were cool. A pair was a status item worth the extra dollar. Now they remind me of one thing: sweatshop.

The company used to be renowned for taking care of its employees and the quality of its products. Its brand name was so strong that a pair of soft, faded used Levi's was a coveted purchase at flea markets and used-clothing stores. I remember studying the company as a model of success as an undergraduate in business school. I'm so disappointed in its current business strategy. It's shortsighted and unsustainable. You can't sell an enduring brand in fashion like cans of Pepsi.

Angela Rockett Kirwin

Ventura

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Disgusting. There is so much more to life than a closet full of cheap clothes. I'm jumping off the misery train of global companies searching for the cheapest possible labor. A few well-made items with good fabrics by fairly paid workers will do. Anybody else want to make the leap?

Roberta Gundersen

San Gabriel

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