Denim Directions slide from Label Networks%uFFFD “Global Youth and Street Culture Fashion” Presentation at MAGIC, Fall Show, 2009

Watching changes in the denim marketplace in the last year has been one of the most volatile and trendsetting since the Great Repression was officially announced last year. While the premium denim category has taken the greatest hit, as most people are no longer willing to pay $250 a pair no matter if they come from Japanese looms and are Italian washed, where things have changed the most are in styles -most of which has taken on a very DIY old-school approach.

Strategically ripped denim pants in the thighs, cut-off and rolled up, with white pockets in clear view is an obvious throwback to the late ’80s, early ’90s grunge, but this time, as most recycled trends are, there’s something cataclysmic about what’s happening with denim DIY silhouettes, especially among young women. First, there’s a mix of Americana in that many people are wearing self-made short shorts paired with cowboy boots or early ’90’s slouchy boots. Other styles indicate rave and synth-punk neon colored tops, even in plaid, paired with ripped denim and short shorts or denim skirts.

Such collaborations are indicative of latest trends in music also with synth-punk, nu rave, and even blues, bordering on country rock, becoming favorites to an entirely new generation (think Jack White influences). With it has come a new version with hints of d%uFFFDj%uFFFD vu of American style denim.

Interestingly, at Bread & Butter in Berlin in July, the Wrangler booth, which is a quintessential USA brand, looked more America Wild West than what’s usually done in America. Other brands such as Lee and of course Levi Strauss -and their faded wash, boyfriend jeans style–are becoming increasingly popular among youth culture in Europe and North America. Even young people in Japan are moving away from some of the darker, crisp “premium” styles of 2008 so-called urbanwear.

While this should not be confused with the skinny-leg, neon-colored denim coming from brands such as Dickies, Hot Topic, Tripp NYC, and others, the old classic denim cut-offs and ripped pantlegs are a sign of the times that denim has taken on it’s own, and coming from an entirely DIY spirit.

For more information about changes in the denim market including spending patterns and size of market, please email about the North American Youth Culture Study 2009 or Premium Subscription including European Youth Culture Study, China, and Japan.