"Denim is set to get a boost as demand for athleisure clothing seems to have peaked. Now, companies are looking for newer options and resurrection of the good old jeans is most likely."
Denim is set to get a boost as demand for athleisure clothing seems to have peaked. Now, companies are looking for newer options and resurrection of the good old jeans is most likely.
Levi’s IPO marks a turnaround for jeans
For generations, no other clothing item represented the US better than jeans. However, the introduction of athleisure by Lululemon in 2007 turned the tide against denim as comfortable clothing gained popularity. Millennials, who became a bigger consumer force, emulated younger icons like Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian by adopting the new athleisure look. During this period, sale of jeans in the US declined by 11 per cent while overall apparel sales rose 10 per cent.
However, now with the return of Levi Strauss to the public market, the tide seems to be turning in favour of denim again. Levi’s IPO launched in March 2019 was priced above expectations amid heavy demand. Even today, the brand’s market value is high and remains unlike other tech IPOs.
Global denim market to grow 11 per cent
Euromonitor projects US jeans revenue will grow by 5 per cent to $17.5 billion by 2023, with global market growing by 11 per cent to $111.6 billion. While there is a huge scope for the growth of athleisure, momentum may be shifting towards denim in the fashion industry. Denim brands Lee and Wrangler jeans are likely to make a comeback after their spinoff last month from VF Corp into the newly listed Kontoor Brands. The spinoff gives Kontoor a leadership team that's quicker to adapt to trends and more likely to experiment.
Emergence of new denim styles
As Robert Burke, CEO, Robert Burke Associations points out there are clear signs of a renewed for denim. However, consumers are not willing to wear the traditionally uncomfortable or restricting pair of jeans. They are adopting new dressing styles like pairing their denim with blazers.
The Euromonitor also predicts the US jeans revenue will grow by 5 per cent to $17.5 billion by 2023. Chip Bergh, CEO, Levi Strauss CEO terms the rise of athleisure in the fashion industry as being "throwdown moment," which inspired brands to make more comfortable jeans styles.
New fabrics being adopted
Their efforts are bearing fruit as after years of stagnation, denim brands are offering innovative fabrics that appeal more to shoppers used to the coziness of leggings. For instance, American Eagle is introducing more comfortable denim known as the American Eagle Ne(X)t level jeans, which provides a 360-degree stretch that lifts, shapes, supports and moves with you in every direction.
Besides natural, synthetic fibers like spandex adding to the comfort of the jeans making them more flexible, comfortable and durable American Eagle's online store even lets shoppers search for jeans by the level of stretch. Levi Strauss has attracted more women by investing in stretch fabrics as well. Ultimately, will established denim brands like Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger survive the athleisure storm or will the skinny jeans go completely out of favor, remains to be seen.