Denim is timeless and denim is cool. These have been universal truths in the fashion world for decades. But as we look toward 2015 and beyond, we’re seeing several important changes taking place in the world of denim.
The first is an even greater role and prominence of denim in mainstream and high fashion alike. Couture designers such as Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton are incorporating more denim into runway collections, and using it even more creatively than ever before. Given the inevitable trickle-down nature of fashion, this can only mean good news for the denim industry at large.
This larger role is being accompanied by major changes in silhouette, construction and form. For the first time since the early 2000s, when the skinny jean became the ubiquitous shape for fashion-forward denim, we’re seeing a major shift. New washes, cuts and textures, from highly embellished to totally destroyed are coming through. But the most important shift is in silhouette. Out with the skinny, in with the boyfriend.
Many industry observers believe the skinny jean simply couldn’t get any skinner, and the pendulum simply had to swing the other way. Premature obituaries have been written before for the skinny jean, but this may be the first time we’ve seen such a well-accepted alternative in the slouchy boyfriend-style silhouette. Many premium denim brands have already fully embraced the look.
Accompanying the slouchier fit is a significantly higher waist. The overall effect can be eerily reminiscent of “mom jeans” from decades past, but the attitude is of course far younger and cooler. We’ll see how consumers embrace this one-two punch, but early adopters and celebrities are clearly on board.
Embellishments continue to be very strong, with embroidery, patches, beading and bejeweling used in ever more innovative ways.
Denim on denim is another strong trend that seems to be gaining momentum. We see this not just in matching denim jeans with denim tops and jackets, but also in multi-layering denim fabrics within the garment.
Distressing is going to new lengths, from mildly worn finishes to completely destroyed. The looser boyfriend cut and high waist distinguish this look from the distressed skinnies we’ve seen in years past.
What does it all mean? It’s important – and welcome – news for all of us in the denim industry. The strong fashion focus on denim, combined with the significant change in silhouette and proportion will be driving consumers to upgrade their denim wardrobe. And that means sales for those who are ready to meet the demand.