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To understand why Levi Strauss & Co. has begun to falter, look no further than the names on teenagers’ jeans.

After riding a wave of success for much of the ’90s, the manufacturer is getting bloodied by the likes of the Gap, Tommy Hilfiger and Fubu. And though Levi’s is still synonymous with blue jeans, it has lost touch with many of its customers, including teenagers who view its staple straight-legged denims as something their baby-boomer parents and even grandparents would wear.

“Everyone has a pair of Levi’s, including their parents,” said Jill Kilcoyne, an associate research director with Teenage Research Unlimited in Northbrook, Ill. “There are so many other jeans available that give them the fashion hand look that [teenagers] want. Teens want to own their own brand; they want the newest and the coolest.”

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