Denim Makes A 180o Turn­around: How Brands Can Main­tain Rel­e­vance and Keep Rev­enue Com­ing In

How brands can main­tain rel­e­vance and keep rev­enue com­ing in

Apparel Online - - Front Page -

There is a rea­son to re­joice for the denim in­dus­try. Af­ter go­ing through a pe­riod that was as dis­tressed as its ripped jeans style that goes by the same name, the denim in­dus­try is on an up­swing. Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent re­port re­leased by P&S Mar­ket Re­search, jeans reached more than US $ 40 bil­lion in global sales in 2016 and the denim mar­ket as a whole is ex­pected to ex­ceed US $ 87 bil­lion by 2023.

Jeans is a huge cat­e­gory, dou­ble the size of leg­gings and still big­ger than cat­e­gories like blouses and coats. Data from Edited sug­gests that re­tail­ers are start­ing to re­fo­cus on their denim as­sort­ments by plan­ning new re­leases. So far in this quar­ter, there are 42 per cent more denim prod­ucts in stock than what there were ear­lier at this time last year. As a con­se­quence of this, not only man­u­fac­tur­ers, but de­sign­ers as well are bet­ting on denim re­vival. Levi Strauss & Co. posted an 8 per cent in­crease in 2017, ow­ing to a sig­nif­i­cant re­vamp of its women’s jeans. This marks the jeans maker’s strong­est an­nual growth since 2011. Hot streetwear brands Off-White and Vete­ments have also gar­nered a lot of at­ten­tion for the washes on their reworked denim and patch­work styles re­spec­tively, while mass­mar­ket la­bels such as Amer­i­can Ea­gle Out­fit­ters Inc. set a record for vol­ume last Fall, in an ef­fort to lure teens into stores by pro­vid­ing a range of dif­fer­ent sil­hou­ettes and washes, from ripped high-waisted ‘jeg­gings’ to in­digo mom jeans.


Ge­o­graph­i­cally, North Amer­ica has been the largest denim mar­ket,

ac­count­ing for more than 30 per cent of global rev­enue in 2016, whereas the sales is ex­pected to wit­ness the fastest growth in Asia-Pa­cific. The growth in this re­gion will be led by fac­tors such as surge in digi­ti­sa­tion within the ap­parel in­dus­try, ad­vance­ment in new denim knit­ting tech­nolo­gies, growth in in­vest­ment in cloth­ing space, and the in­creas­ing adop­tion of lux­u­ri­ous and ca­sual gar­ments from all seg­ments of the so­ci­ety.


Ow­ing to the over­dom­i­nance of com­fort cloth­ing in the fash­ion space, the clas­sic pair of jeans has ex­pe­ri­enced a high rate of stag­nancy over the past decade. Lit­tle to no in­no­va­tions in the field have left con­sumers with a bare min­i­mum to get ex­cited about; no ex­cite­ment means no growth. Short-lived trends such as cropped and frayed hem­lines, flared bot­toms and ’80s throw­backs did over­shadow the gloom cast over the in­dus­try, but there is no con­test­ing the reign en­joyed by the skinny jean style. The lat­ter has re­mained rel­e­vant with a dom­i­nant style pe­riod span­ning a decade, with no ma­jor threat to its denim dom­i­nance.

There was a brief pe­riod wherein ath­leisure and com­fort stretch street cloth­ing over­took the denim in­dus­try in 2015 and 2016, but post that, both lux­ury and mass have seen a huge uptick. To lower the cost of mass mar­ket, var­i­ous denim man­u­fac­tur­ers have started ex­per­i­ment­ing with new ma­te­ri­als, thereby re­plac­ing cot­ton with ny­lon, polyester, aramid, and other spun ther­mo­plas­tic vari­a­tions.

Gain­ing strength in 2017 and soar­ing through the early months of 2018, denim has en­joyed a good re­bound – which also sig­nals in new trends and eager shop­pers. This brings us to our next ques­tion that’s been on every­one’s mind – ‘Is skinny dead yet?’

The an­swer is: Not yet. Skinny jeans rep­re­sent 58 per cent of women’s jeans and pose as core for any given denim re­tailer.


In ad­di­tion to this, data sug­gests that sil­hou­ettes such as cropped hems, cu­lottes, mom jeans, and wide styles have all gained since 2016. The ones to have made it to the Best­sellers’ list in­clude wide leg and flare bot­tom styles, frayed de­tails and black and white col­or­ways. Brands such as Madewell and Ever­lane have re­fo­cused their at­ten­tion to work­ing on such styles. Madewell, in par­tic­u­lar, scored record sales both in stores and on­line last quar­ter, and con­tin­ues to re­port dou­ble-digit in­crease in com­par­a­tive store sales, thanks to its jeans cat­e­gory.

Par­ent com­pany of Tommy Hil­figer and Calvin Klein, PVH Corp has

seen an in­cred­i­ble improve­ment in its jeans busi­nesses world­wide, so much so that the com­pany is putting its mar­ket­ing dol­lars be­hind the pop­u­lar­ity of the ’90s style denim. Denim skirts have grown 25 per cent and shorts are up 47 per cent from what they were two years ago. The ’90s theme taps on the ‘ugly fash­ion move­ment’ with Ber­muda style shorts, front but­toned skirts and denim dresses of­fer­ing a plethora of op­por­tu­nity for keen re­tail­ers. To achieve the ’90s look within dresses, play with pi­nafore and but­ton-up styles in vivid colours and print pat­terns for the up­com­ing Spring 2019 sea­son.

Denim out­er­wear is also a hot cat­e­gory to watch out for. Data shows that denim out­er­wear has in­creased 101 per cent over a pe­riod of last two years. Vi­tal­ity is key in this seg­ment – with fam­i­lies of or­anges, yel­lows and plum, and pat­terns such as checker­boards, leop­ard and snake prints fea­tur­ing over co-ord sets.


Sus­tain­abil­ity is at the cen­tre of con­ver­sa­tion within the fash­ion and ap­parel in­dus­try; this led to Levi’s launch­ing its F.L.X. tech­nol­ogy (set to re­lease in se­lect stores by Spring 2019) – a laser-pow­ered process that al­lows con­sumers to cus­tomise a unique dis­tressed fin­ish on their jeans. By giv­ing con­sumers the op­por­tu­nity to per­son­alise their de­signs, laser dis­tress­ing could be used as a means to cre­ate thou­sands of fin­ishes cur­rently be­ing achieved through la­bo­ri­ous tra­di­tional meth­ods like sand­ing. Tra­di­tion­ally cre­at­ing fades and fin­ishes over denim re­quire chem­i­cals and sand­ing blocks - a process that in­volves large amounts of wa­ter con­sump­tion and over a thou­sand types of chem­i­cals.

Such en­vi­ron­ment-friendly tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tions so­lid­ify the in­dus­try’s grow­ing con­cern for sus­tain­able prac­tices, such as us­ing re­cy­cled wa­ter and re­cy­cled fab­rics, mak­ing this a hot area to di­vulge in.

Im­age cour­tesy: Edited

Best­sellers’ list in­clude wide leg and flare bot­tom styles, frayed de­tails. Sil­hou­ettes such as cropped hems, cu­lottes, mom jeans, and wide styles have all gained since 2016

Im­age cour­tesy: Edited

’90s theme taps on the ‘ugly fash­ion move­ment’ with Ber­muda style shorts, front but­toned skirts and denim dresses

Denim out­er­wear – or­anges, yel­lows & pat­terns such as checker­boards fea­ture over co-ords

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