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Innovation is the buzz-word in US denim market

"A lot of research and cutting edge innovations are happening in the denim industry to introduce new ideas such as wearable technology in the right products at the right times in to the market. Denim makers are looking at the popularity of athleisure and figuring out how to make certain properties of the comfort category work for the jeans wear market."

 

Innovation is the buzz-word in US

A lot of research and cutting edge innovations are happening in the denim industry to introduce new ideas such as wearable technology in the right products at the right times in to the market. Denim makers are looking at the popularity of athleisure and figuring out how to make certain properties of the comfort category work for the jeans wear market.

According to Rachel Lincoln, Manager of Design Services and Innovation, prAna, customers live a very active life, so denim has to work from the trail to the tavern. They hike, climb, bike, and play in our jeans. Customers look for mobility, comfort, abrasion resistance, and longevity in their products and our denim is no exception. Although active bottoms are the most popular type for hanging out at home (31 per cent), jeans are the most popular for running errands (50 per cent), work (32 per cent), and going out to dinner (31 per cent), according to the Cotton Incorporated survey. 

Innovation is the buzz-word in US denim market

According to the NPD Group Inc.’s Consumer Tracking Service, men and women’s US denim jeans sales totaled $13.1 billion in 2015. That’s a 2 per cent decline from the prior year, but a deceleration in the fall off, which was 4 per cent in 2014. Meanwhile, the New York Times recently reported the athleisure market has reached $97 billion, even though it’s a newcomer to the fashion block.

Innovative concepts

Denim has been around since the gold rush days or 1873, to be precise, when Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis got the US patent for riveted denim work pants. After all these years, Levi’s isn’t about to cede the floor. Rather, it’s embarking on innovative concepts like partnering with Google on the tech company’s new Project Jacquard, a program that ‘weaves touch and gesture interactivity into any textile using standard industrial looms.’

Levi’s and Google ATAP (Advanced Technology and Projects group) joined forces to create the Commuter Trucker Jacket. The jacket, which has Google’s Jacquard technology woven in, will be available Spring 2017. The jacket was designed with urban cyclists in mind. Its interactive denim fibers allow wearers to leave their smartphone in the jacket pocket, while maintaining control of, say, their music, phone calls, and maps simply by tapping a smart tag on the jacket sleeve. When the tag is removed, the jacket is completely washable and as durable as regular Levi’s denim. 

Innovation is the buzz-word in US denim

Levi’s regularly trades on its authenticity and heritage, brand presidentJames Curleigh likes to say that to be successful. Levi’s is a top pick among consumers, giving the company leeway to experiment with out-of-the-box product offerings. Almost 1 in 4 consumers (22 per cent) say they buy Levi’s denim most often, followed by Wrangler (8 per cent), Lee (6 per cent), and American Eagle (3 per cent), according to a research.

While a hands-free mobile experience would likely be welcomed many an urban cyclist, consumers say they’re also looking for multifunctional jeans (86 per cent). Lana Ober, brand relationship manager at Denimology, the denim news and trend resource, says people are now asking for more from their clothing - including denim.

The comfort factor

Ober points to shape retention and full-motion fabric, as athleisure qualities that are being adopted by denim makers. This makes sense as the majority of consumers say fit (75 per cent) and comfort (70 per cent) are the top factors in the denim purchasing decision, according to the data available. These are followed by a ‘flattering look’ (65 per cent), price (59 per cent), quality (56 per cent), and durability (53 per cent).

James Jeans came out with the Twiggy Dancer, Mavi with their FEATHER line, Diesel with Actyvista, AYR with their Flex Tech Jean, 7 For All Mankind with Slim Illusion Luxe, AG with the Contour 360, and J Brand with Hi Def Stretch. These are just are a few examples, ticking off a list of active-inspired offerings. “The Diesel and AYR jeans are actually made to look like workout leggings.

prAna’s Axiom jean is a traditional 5-pocket model with a bit of stretch for mobility and a gusseted inseam for range of motion. The company also has a companion jean that offers abrasion resistance as well as freedom of movement.

 
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