The Denizen: Where Dumb Meets Stupid

Reclaim EC1 has previously addressed the fraudulent bullshit that characterises Taylor Wimpey’s attempts to sell its as yet unbuilt Denizen development to naïve nouveau riche mugs. Aside from Taylor Wimpey lying about the flats being situated in the ancient heart of the City, when the planned building lies way beyond the original city wall, the choice of The Denizen as a name reveals much about the developer’s cynical view of its potential customers. The proposed site of The Denizen is a few metres inside the City of London borough boundary, and Taylor Wimpey make far more of this than the location warrants; essentially these will be City fringe properties and like other developments in EC1 they are being marketed as ghost home investments to speculators in South East Asia. Potential victims of Taylor Wimpey’s disingenuous sales pitch in South East Asia will already be familiar with Denizen as a clothes brand owned by Levis but with jeans sold at ‘cheap and cheerful’ prices compared to the company’s ‘original’ products. The following is from 2010:

…Levi’s have just launched a new label specifically tailored to emerging markets in China, India, Korea and Singapore. These economically booming countries share a fast growing middle class consumer that H&M, Uniqlo and Zara, have already tapped into with presence in Shanghai.

The denizen collection (a combination of the words “denim” and “Zen”) offers its own logo and styles, targeting the new generation of upwardly mobile 18 to 28-year-olds who seek high-quality jeanswear at affordable prices…

With its global headquarters located in Hong Kong, dENiZEN is the first brand from the company to debut outside the USA and Levis are aiming to price its Denizen brand in the range of $40-$55 retail.

Levis dENiZEN™ by Laura Reynolds, Worth Global Style Network Insider Blog, 31 August 2010.


Although Taylor Wimpey tap into hype about cheap jeans, their proposed development is over-priced and dingy; and life inside it is likely to be ‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short’. The tacky interior design in computer-generated graphics for The Denizen make it clear the developers are aiming their warren of ‘luxury’ apartments at culturally unsophisticated fools who have more money than taste or sense. After being heavily criticised over its leaseholder scams, it seems Taylor Wimpey’s main money making wheeze with The Denizen is to create private communal facilities including a cinema and concierge services that will act as a justification for them whacking up the service charges to absurd levels. As a result those who buy these properties may well find themselves unable to sell them, while being charged an arm and a leg for their ‘maintenance’. Rather than acting as living proof of the saying ‘a fool and their money are easily parted’, these potential marks would be better off sticking to knockoff clothing brands:

Levi’s says Denizen clothes will be stylish, well-made and comfortable, but much cheaper than the company’s flagship brand. A pair of Denizen jeans, for instance, sells for about $45 — about half the cost of a pair of premium-price Levi’s — putting it within grasp of 18-to-28-year-old consumers outside North America and Europe. The brand will compete against retailers such as Hong Kong-based Giordano and Japan’s Uniqlo.

“We’ve realized a new consumer has emerged, status-seekers in rapidly-emerging middle classes. This is primarily a developing-market phenomenon; they exist outside the U.S. in markets like China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and Brazil,” said Aaron Boey, Levi’s Singapore-based president, Asia/Pacific.

…Denizen clothes will not be sold in Levi’s stores, but the company isn’t hiding the brand’s parentage. Labels and packaging indicate the brand is from Levi’s.

The name — which Levi’s writes dENiZEN — combines the first three letters of “denim” with “zen,” a word with Japanese and Chinese roots that means “meditative state” or an “escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life,” Mr. Boey said.

“Denizen also means a place where someone lives, and these consumers are still very connected to communities in which they grew up and place a lot of emphasis on belonging. Family and friends are still important.”

Levi’s First Brand Created Outside the U.S. Is Promoted With a Pan-Asian Social-media Campaign by Normandy Madden, Ad Age, August 25, 2010.


While Taylor Wimpey’s Denizen sales brochure echoes elements of Boey’s sales pitch for his cheap jeans, those who buy the developer’s apartments may find it difficult to make friends in Finsbury and Cripplegate; since their ‘neighbours’ are furious that the building will block huge amounts of light from local flats, schools and Fortune Street Park. Taylor Wimpey are a bad and bullying neighbour and have generated anger rather than ‘friendship’. The horror fiction that is continuing to appear on our sister blog The Denizen EC1 is only one manifestation of this.

Pippa Henslowe.


Levis dENiZEN™ by Laura Reynolds:

Levi’s First Brand Created Outside the U.S. Is Promoted With a Pan-Asian Social-media Campaign by Normandy Madden:


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