Denim remains a wardrobe staple for men and women alike. However, as men increasingly dress up in trousers, or down into tracksuit bottoms, and with the market being driven for both genders by volume, brands are having to get creative to stand out.
WGSN’s In-Stock service analyses the proportion denim makes up of fashion retailers’ ranges and breaks down the new styles each is carrying. In February 2017 jeans represented 4% of new women’s stock (up from 3.5% in February 2016) and 5.5% of men’s (down from 5.7% in February 2016). So this staple still brings in a significant proportion of sales.
However, the market is becoming more crowded and consumer spending remains muted, so denim brands are under increased pressure to stand out from the crowd.
Poppy Lomax, denim buyer at Selfridges, says that the department store’s customers are becoming more adventurous with their denim and “willing to take more risks” and wear styles “not just as casualwear”.
“New niche brands are entering the market with freshness and innovation that our customers are really supporting, like LA-based brand Grlfrnd,” she says.
“Our denim customers are buying into anything with a hem detail or cropped flare silhouette. Citizens of Humanity, J Brand, Paige, AG and Rag & Bone are all offering released-hem styles.”
Kashif Qazi, owner of Romford-based denim-focused independent retailer Utter Nutter, says the market is driven by volume brands priced below £60, such as River Island and Topman, and brands over the £100 mark, such as Diesel or Replay, which are around £125.
By contrast, he says, mid-market brands priced from £60 to £100 - with the exception of Levi’s Line 8 range and the higher-tier Red Tab, which he says are still selling at volume - are now quite rare: “Brands are really upping their game and offering all sorts of new washes and cuts to stand out in what is an increasingly competitive market.”
|Top five retailers with highest volumes of women’s new-in jeans|
|3||House of Fraser||134||Dorothy Perkins||53|
|Top five retailers with highest volumes of men’s new-in jeans|
|4||House of Fraser||63||River Island||45|
|Women’s jeans details|
|Feb 17||Feb 16||Feb 17||Feb 16|
|Volume||Volume||YOY volume change (%)||Detail mix (%)||Detail mix (%)||Detail mix change YoY (pp)|
|Men’s jeans details|
|Volume||Volume||YOY volume change (%)||Detail mix (%)||Detail mix (%)||Detail mix change YOY (pp)|