17 April 2015

Denim: The Non-Trend of Trends

Hippies and politicians alike have embraced denim as a statement of individuality or hidden tactic respectively: "Famously, George W. Bush and Tony Blair went out on the streets in denim during their first summit meeting. The statement was, 'We are regular guys,' but of course they both looked like dorks," said Paul Trynka. It is no coincidence that jeans were worn on this occasion; their choice represented a desire to be seen as relaxed, relatable and just like you and me.

Differing styles, cuts and fits are constantly propelled into relevance and meet the needs of essentially every market segment. This in turn creates an industry that feeds off of the constant demand for the product and where there is demand, there will be money. In a world where protecting the future is ever-important in the eyes of the consumer, new methods are being researched as to how sustainable production and manufacturing of denim can be maintained. This in turn helps to create an air of responsibility and environmental awareness around brands, which will appeal to a large percentage of the customer-base and potential customers alike.

An omnipresent theme in denim advertising is sex. They say that sex sells and the success of Kate Moss and Mark Wahlberg’s infamous campaign proves this as it raised Calvin Klein’s net sales to $462 million in 1995. With the average adult in the UK owning four pairs of jeans, it is essential for brands to define their values and ethos in order to develop a solid brand loyalty with their customers. 

One big challenge for denim brands is finding a way to stand out and create an identifiable product among an industry of similarity. “There are more denim brands born this century than in the previous 104 years. All of a sudden, value and own-label and fast fashion come and try to take a piece of the business. So, you’re getting attacked by premium, value, traditional and fast fashion.." Says James Curleigh, global President for Levi’s. Competition in the form of value collections has lead more traditional brands like Levi’s to rethink their motives and define why their product differs from the cheaper options that are readily available on the high street.

Another challenge is finding a way to create a range of fits that appeal to different body sizes and types. 86% of consumers say that comfort is the most important factor when buying jeans so tailor-made and custom services are being offered to meet the needs of these customers. Levi’s Tailor Shop, Diesel’s Atelier Collection and Jack &Jones’ Jeans Intelligence Studio have all been created to offer a product that is unique to each individual. This gives a pair of jeans that is made specifically for that individual to reach unparalleled levels of comfort and happiness in the product, service and brand itself.

The world of online shopping has created a whole new platform of competition with online retailers providing cheaper products and not having to conform to all of the costs of retail spaces. Brands are responding to this by creating their own websites where they may not be able to compete on a pricing level but their reputation and in-store experience will develop a more personal relationship with the customer. The website can then act as a chance for people to continue to buy the products, even if they can’t visit the store. Brand websites are also a method for promoting a uniform image and a way for slogans, colours, fonts and logos to become identifiable to a brand.

Despite competition presenting itself in a plethora of forms, jeans will always bear an unparalleled classicism that allows them to boast the title of “wardrobe staple” as they appeal to people of all ages, across all professions, all over the world. Their allure lies in their simplicity, durability and individuality, which is more than enough to drive the future of the denim market.