WESC denim jeans Fall collection ’09 from ASR February, 2009

If you were to look at a cross-section of the denim brands from MAGIC, S.L.A.T.E., Project, ASR, Agenda, and fashion trade show attendees, it’s clear that the denim industry, while splintering into many different trend directions in the past 5 years, has some overall trends that are re-defining styles in the near future. First, the premium denim market, as we noted in several stories, has taken the biggest hit. Paying $200 for denim is really no longer an option for most people, which has changed not only the amount of brands on the trade show floors, especially at Project, but also affected the styles for the future.

For example, many people we interviewed on the trade show floors said that key aspects were price points and paying attention to what’s going to work. As Dre Hayes from The Foundation noted in our Label Networks TV interview, “Price points now mean you have to be right on. People are not going to pay the prices they used to so you have to be attuned to the specifics in this market even more so in this economy.” Others stated that the premium denim market, which had taken a huge hit and was apparent as many brands were no longer showing at Project, had re-adjusted their strategies towards quality product but less in details towards working on a more affordable price model.

AG Adriano Goldschmied goes with the distressed look and grease in creases

Project still showcased some of the top denim brands in the business, including Nudie Jeans, AG Adriano Goldschmied, 7 for All Mankind, True Religion, Earnest Sewn, Chip and Pepper, Loomstate, We the People, Marithe Francois Girbaud, Diesel, G-Star, Raven, Rock & Republic, PRPS, Evisu, Howe, among others, but it was a smaller show and people could feel the difference with the drop in denim brands present, especially from Japan. As one guy who was wearing the Japanese brand Nine Rulaz said, “The brand isn’t here, but I’m going to wear my premium denim. Only, this year I’m not buying new denim.”

While many of the premium brands are changing up their price points and adjusting lower, there are other brands who are bringing on denim even stronger as a staple aspect to their Fall collections, such as 10 Deep.

“People are buying based on the quality, the brand, and what may work for them for a longer period of time,” commented Emeka from 10 Deep, one of the kingpin brands of the entire street genre in a Label Networks TV interview. “We have to focus on what’s going to work but work for longer. Some accounts are simply not there any longer and while some of us will survive, like 10 Deep which tends to open the door for others, we’re all feeling the differences.” Some of the differences have been how they’ve changed their collection to include more staples such as a stronger denim selection, flannels but with tailored cuts, button-downs, attention to incredible details, smaller logos tucked into coveted locations, and an edited mix of options, which all go with 10 Deep denim.

Emeka from 10 Deep with their Fall Collection ’09

Other trends in denim are moving towards a more distressed look with additional washes, patches, and layered pieces. There was also a move towards adding grease or darker stains in folds, such as AG Adriano Goldschmied. Many exhibitors from the denim industry said it marks a reflection of the times, but there’s a part of us that thinks looking distressed and beat-up, while it may match the mood, may put off people who don’t want to wear how they feel. Earnest Sewn kept with the authentic Americana theme with a cowboy Wild West aspect, which is similar to various styles from Levi Strauss, Wrangler, and Lee.

Earnest Sewn booth, like several others, go with a Wild West, authentic Americana motif

Darker denim is still on hand as seen from Nudie Jeans, Artful Dodger, and a range from WESC, but the real push in silhouettes are coming from the women’s denim scene with boyfriend denim shorts and boyfriend jeans with a wider style as seen with Hellz Bellz. With women’s denim taking on a new importance, fit has also become a key issue. 7 for All Mankind, for example, has always emphasized this, but we also caught up with retailers who are now saying that when it comes to merchandising for denim for their stores, they are looking for brands that relate to what women want in a comfortable fit. You can see the results from this also from Quiksilver Women and WESC who have also admitted to a wider pant-leg.

Distressed denim shorts in boyfriend-fit from Hellz Bellz

However skinny leg denim is still popular among youth culture, as seen with the punk-inspired fans, and even b-boy/b-girls on the trade show floors. Colored denim by Dickies, Hot Topic, Volcom, and Tripp NYC are also still quite popular among a younger demographic, matching the nu rave punk movement in bright colors and neon sunglasses that continues to dominate this scene.

B-girl in her skinny jeans

Other interesting denim trends to note are the rise in eco-friendly denim brands such as Loomstate, PRPS, Steward and Brown.

Overall, the denim industry which remains one of the most important aspects in fashion today, has changed to meet new consumer demands, including more affordable denim, styles that match individual tastes whether it be back pocket stitching, distressed washes, colored denim, Western styles, or boyfriend jeans, keeping it a subculture of fashion that requires staying highly in tune with the personal sensibilities of the marketplace.

For information on top denim brands from global youth culture, including average spending patterns, and size of market, email info@labelnetworks.com; (323) 630-4000 about the Premium subscription.

True Religion distressed denim

Nudie jeans goes with darker denim, but includes some more faded washes in their Fall Collection ’09

In urban denim, bling on the front and stitching on the back pockets are key. This is the Japanese denim and streetwear brand Nine Rulaz created by DJ Master Simon.

Hellz Bellz boyfriend-fit denim jeans where among new styles for women

Kentucky brand jeans

Volcom’s western booth fort and sign for their new denim collection. Looks very Wrangler-like.