"After going through a distressed period, the denim industry is now on an upswing. As a recent study by P&S Market Research indicates, global jeans sales reached $40 billion in 2016, and are expected to exceed $87 billion by 2023. Data from Edited suggests retailers have started to refocus on their denim assortments by planning new releases. They have so far stocked 42 per cent more denim products than the last year. As a result, both manufacturers and designers are betting on denims revival."
After going through a distressed period, the denim industry is now on an upswing. As a recent study by P&S Market Research indicates, global jeans sales reached $40 billion in 2016, and are expected to exceed $87 billion by 2023. Data from Edited suggests retailers have started to refocus on their denim assortments by planning new releases. They have so far stocked 42 per cent more denim products than the last year. As a result, both manufacturers and designers are betting on denims revival.
Levi Strauss & Co in 2017 posted an 8 per cent growth owing to a significant revamp of its women’s jeans. This is the jeans maker’s strongest annual growth since 2011. Similarly, streetwear brands Off-White and Vetements garnered a lot of attention for the washes on their reworked denim and patchwork styles respectively, while mass-market labels such as American Eagle Outfitters 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.
Asia-pacific witnesses fastest growth
Driven by factors such as surge in digitisation within the apparel industry, advancement in new denim knitting technologies, growth in investment in clothing and increasing adoption of luxurious and casual garments from all segments of the society, has led to Asia-Pacific witnessing the fastest growth in denim sales.
Over dominance of comfort clothing over the past decade led to stagnancy in growth of the classic jeans. The segment did not witness any major innovations during this period. Short-lived trends such as cropped and frayed hemlines, flared bottoms and ’80s throwbacks did uplift the gloom for a brief period but could not bring back the reign enjoyed by the skinny jean style.
Meanwhile, for a brief period from 2015 to 2016, athleisure and comfort stretch street clothing overtook the denim industry but post this luxury and mass markets witnessed a huge upswing. To lower the cost of mass market, various denim manufacturers are experimenting with new materials, replacing cotton with nylon, polyester, aramid, and other spun thermoplastic variations.
Emergence of new denim styles
Driven by new trends and eager shoppers, the denim market soared through the early months of 2018. Skinny jeans represented 58 per cent of women’s jeans with other styles such as wide leg and flare bottom, frayed details, silhouettes such as cropped hems, culottes, mom jeans, and wide styles also gaining momentum
In addition to this, silhouettes such as cropped hems, culottes, wide leg and flare bottom styles, frayed details and black and white colors are the most in-demand denim styles today with brands like Madewell and Everlane refocusing their attention on them. Madewell, witnessed 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.
Sustainability initiatives in denim
With sustainability being the centre of conversation in fashion and apparel industry, Levi’s launched its F.L.X. technology– 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.