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Drapers Denim Report: the trends, fits and brands of the moment

Light denim background wallpaper 1

Five experts predict the trends to watch and brands to know in the denim market.

Erin Fridja, founder of Bad Denim

Kings of indigo2

Kings of indigo2

Kings of Indigo

For spring 18, we’ll continue to see a return to true blue shades: good, clean tones, no ripped or overworked denim. Lots of heavyweight and non-stretch denim in clean lines, without any false thigh scraping or shredding.

Shape-wise, we’ll continue to see the wider legs – worn high or mid-waist – balancing the shape by hugging the hips.

In details, utility-style patch pockets, such as those by Kings of Indigo, exposed zips or buttons, seen at Eve Denim, and amazing wide wale plush corduroy textures – in unexpected colours such as light dreamy blues and purples. MIH has a fantastic colour palette.

Next season, I think we’ll see styles with exposed zips used in clever ways – at the sideseam and zipping all the way through from front to back.

Nick Eley, head of menswear design at Asos




The overarching denim trend at present is for vintage washes, distressing and rips. This is across all shades of denim, but there definitely seems to be a shift towards more bleached-out levels for a true 1990s look.

The super-skinny has been the fit of choice for some time now but, we’re really excited to see a move towards the slimmer, slightly cropped silhouette, reminiscent of those classic 1980s fits.




The biggest focus for us at present is a desire to make our denim more sustainable. We’re currently looking at recycled denims, using yarns re-spun from old jeans, waterless and energy-efficient laundry processes and organic cottons.

As well as this, we also have a responsibility to educate our customer about the impact of aftercare, helping them understand the most efficient way to wash and care for their denim.

Our future trends on denim are seeing jeans re-imagined, introducing sportswear elements with drawstring waists, laid-on stripe details and even popper seams.

Poppy Lomax, womenswear buyer at  Selfridges

J Brand

J Brand

J Brand

Hem detail, in any form, is a dominant trend at the minute. AG Jeans, Frame, Grlfrnd and Paige play on the hem angles: constructing front splits, stepped hems and slanted edges.

Denim jackets remain a key piece and are proving to be a longstanding staple. We have a variety of washes and shapes that can be dressed up or worn as a casual item.

Citizens of Humanity Estella jean

Citizens of Humanity Estella jean

Citizens of Humanity Estella jean

Ruffles add to and elevate any outfit, showing that denim can be the focus piece. I particularly love the Citizens of Humanity Estella jeans: the full side ruffle is a real showstopper. In a more subtle take on the trend, the ruffled hem on the J Brand Maude skinny jeans adds a girly edge to an otherwise classic silhouette.

Coloured denim is a re-emerging trend and a spectrum of reds and pinks stand out – everything from washed pillar box red to light, dusty pink.

Many of the old “rules” no longer apply to denim. Customers are still shopping for investment pieces, but on a whole as more of a trend-led buy. Jeans are now as much as a statement piece.

Wide crops are set to take the denim market by storm. This upcoming trend is an intrinsically cool contrast to the everlastingly popular skinny jeans, providing an alternative that changes the feel of an outfit in an instant.

Exposed zip detailing is on the rise and can be seen currently across Paige and J Brand in an understated way. The coming seasons will see zips become more apparent and used in a multitude of ways to accelerate the style aspect of denim.

Samuel Trotman, denim editor at WGSN

Women are becoming tired of predictable wafer-thin ultra-stretch “jeans” that have saturated the market over the past decade. They are now looking for something more authentic for a throwback vintage look, as well as reworked retro looks. They are looking for that true authentic-looking jean but with a contemporary look and fit. Think hip-hugging high-rise fits with hems cropped above the ankle or slim fits that have been opened up at the hem to create a modern micro-flare kick. This is where brands such as Off-White, Redone and Aries are capturing the market.

Aries for web

Aries for web


This year has been the year of avant garde denim and lots of frisky jeanswear styles have popped up. Among the labels tapping into the risque-chic looks are Vetements, Y/Project with its wonderfully left-of-centre denim chaps, and Topshop caused controversy with its clear plastic jeans. Even Balenciaga is nodding to the oversized 1990s looks with its upscale baggy jeans.

Klei rtw fw17 0586

Klei rtw fw17 0586

Calvin Klein

Fashion tastemakers kickstarted another trend by buying up thrift-store styles and reworking them with raised waistbands, slimmer crotches and, most commonly, raw or undone hems cut just above the ankle. This was then further validated through brands such as Redone and Vetements, which spotted a gap in the market for reworking vintage styles. Vetements has caused a frenzy with its couture reworks (at a high price point of £745), while Redone has captured the mainstream market with its on-point adjustments on favourite archive styles.

One of the biggest trends on the latest menswear catwalks is the way designers are fine-tuning classic denim items with an artistic approach. For spring 18, Raf Simons at Calvin Klein, Y/Project’s Glenn Martens, Junya Watanabe and JW Anderson artfully updated denim with subverted design details, concept cuts or artistic prints that give these otherwise basic items an edgier appeal.

While not the most commercial fit, wider cuts are a growing category for the menswear market as guys move away from skinny. The shift towards smarter styling has prompted growth in raw denim, but this is still a niche market for those who appreciate unwashed denim.

Colour has been an overriding trend for denim for men. Colour varies depending on how far designers are willing to push the boundaries, from offbeat pastels through to the vibrant hues of Balenciaga and Ami. Young men will be after more exaggerated looks such as over dyed acid wash, in the style of Palm Angels and Balenciaga.

Paul Baptiste, head of fashion and accessories at Fenwick

Despite the consistent popularity of skinny jeans, we have seen a slight steer towards other styles when it comes to our fashion denim sales over the past year. Cropped straight-leg silhouettes with more of an open ankle, such as the Paige Jacqueline jeans, have seen a significant surge in popularity over the past year.

MIH Lou jean

MIH Lou jean

MIH Lou jean

We are now seeing consumers take particular interest in purchasing a jean with a point of difference. Yuki ankle slit jeans from Rag & Bone and MIH’s Lou frayed-bottom flare jeans both have unusual features that take jeans from a wardrobe staple to a statement look.

Two-tones designs, such as the Liya jean from Citizens of Humanity, have been favoured by many influencers, as well as black denim or designs with ankle detail.

Readers' comments (1)

  • darren hoggett

    The skinny jean movement for men has been massively overplayed. The big trend was towards BETTER and slimmer fitting jeans, which has lead to anything not hitting the spot being almost unsaleable.

    There was resistance in some quarters towards stretch denim, but whilst there is a fair argument that their now is too much elastane in some jeans, the bottom line is stretch is here to stay as that is what the consumer wants. Denim has never looked so good as the consumer demands are (rightfully) so high - is that going to be thrown completely in the bin?

    You can educate customers, but you cannot de-educate them - which is why loose jeans will not become the wide scale mainstream product they were back in the decades gone by. What the consumer wants in new technology and innovation in a five pocket western as it is safe territory for both brand and retailer, as giving that consumer what they want is what the trade should be all about.

    Darren Hoggett
    J&B Menswear/Norwich

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