There was a time when denim clothing
was considered as just weekend lounge wears, but now people wear them for work
and also for parties. Walk into the ritziest of parties, and more than half of
them would be seen in denims. A simple cloth has grabbed the attention of
everyone and has created a tremendous impact on many. It is an acceptable piece
of clothing to a house wife as well as to a fashion savvy model on the runway. Denim
business has been identified as a profitable choice right from the retailer selling
in the mass market to the exclusive specialty shop proprietor. Initially it was
considered as a bittersweet product. Though jeans have been accepted as an
integral item in every persons wardrobe, the heavy price tag was not conceding.
But later on, when more manufacturers entered the industry and the competition
heated up, denim apparels were sold with an affordable price tag to suit the
needs of every customer.
Global jeans market is
estimated to be around d $49 billion USD. 50% of the global denim capacity is concentrated
in the Asian countries, mainly in China. In US, it is a $10 billion industry. On
average, US customers purchase 450 million pairs of jeans in a year. Many other
countries have also developed their denim markets. Industry analysts estimate
that global demand for denim products is likely to rise by 5% every year, and
simultaneously, global supplies will increase by 8%. They forecast a bright
future for denim apparels provided that the garments appeal to the consumer in
a modern way while retaining its traditional ethics as well.
Denim industry is the most
fragmented in the apparel industry. Due to the stiff competition with its
substitute products like cargos, khaki trousers, and cotton combat, denim sales
witnessed a slight drop during the recent past. The market also met with
saturation during 2005 due to the excess export of garments from developing
countries. But saturation in the market only led to the innovation of new
fabrics and trends in the denim industry in the developing countries. Later on,
during 2005-06, the industry emerged again with the evergreen fashion attire;
back on track. Couture designers worldwide are attempting various experiments
with the fabric to increase its value. Their creativity and desire to capture
the denim market is seen in the form of patches, rhinestones, appliqu and
glitter in denim apparels. Smart fabrics are also used in an innovative way. Chemical
finishes like dry foam finish, flat mercerized, tinted, pigment blotch and used
creatively in denim apparels.
Companies like Levi Strauss, ITG,
VF, Perry Ellis, and American Eagle Outfitters have a strong hold in the denim
market. American Eagle Outfitters is a leading denim retailer whose garments
have a blend of American West and European touch in their denim apparels. Specialty
stores like Mason's, Lola and Signature Style in Fayetteville have the hottest
designer collections. Sensing the potential of denim apparels, Cone Denim, a
business unit of ITG is now focusing on growing its market by sourcing in
African countries. Perry Ellis International Inc. owns a portfolio of highly
recognized brands like Jantzen, Girl Star, Savane, Grand Slam, Original
Penguin, Natural Issue etc. A new jean has been designed by Levi Strauss that
is compatible with iPod music player. VF Corporation has many reputed denim brands
like Lee, Riders, and Wrangler etc.
Every persons wardrobe contains
clothes that fit into two categories; timeless and trendy. Timeless garments
never go out of style. Trendy apparels are popular and yet; short lived. People
who dress to impress often go for trendy apparels. People in the age group, 13-17,
and 25-34 have more specific choices while shopping for denims. In todays
denim market new trends are introduced every single day. Fashion oriented ring
denim, stretch denim, and 2 ply denim, are currently seen in the store shelves targeted
for the high niche market. Colored jeans is the recent trend, whereas, white
denim has an evergreen charm.
Boutique denim is becoming more
popular these days. Super slim cigarette denim pant with long and bunchy looks
at the bottom is the fad of the season, and gives a slim look to the wearer.
Some upcoming trends in the denim world are:
- Tencel Denims: Tencel is a fibre that blends easily and
enhances the comfort feeling. The fibre is produced from wood pulp
harvested from sustained forests where less pesticide is used in trees.
Therefore it is environmentally friendly as well. Using this fibre in denim
adds a luxurious, silk like feel to the apparel. Though the production cost is a little high, it is likely to come down when the fibre becomes popular. Tencel
denims have a good luster and drape compared with the normal denim. They are
available in plain weave as well as stretchable denims. Brands like Lee,
Hoffmen, Charlie, Killer and Jealous are currently using this fibre in their products.
- Organic Denims: With the increasing awareness of
environmental safety, organic clothes are simultaneously gaining immense
popularity. Considering the fact that denim industry consumes 17% of the worlds
total cotton production, it is imperative that the industry moves towards the
organic way. Some good organic denims produced worldwide are:
Jeans: Potato starch and natural indigo etc are used to makes these jeans.
- Loomstate: This is a reputed brand which uses 100% organic cotton for their products.
- 7forallmankind: Sevens launched its organic denims in the name Yosemite collection. It is a
non-stretch fabric with indigo fading throughout the front and rear.
Eco: Levis uses organic cotton for their denim products.
and Stones: This is a Japanese brand that uses only handpicked cotton, dyed
with natural indigo and washed in an environmentally friendly way.
Chakra: This brand is sold in the stores in London. They are 100% organic
denims starting from cotton, to dyes and handloom weaving. The production process is quite long, but its objective is honorable.
- Linen/Ramie Denims: It is a plant fibre added with denims
to give the fabric a silky luster and reduce wrinkles. This is a delicate
material when compared with cotton, and hence is added with a strong fibre like
denim. Ramie cotton denims are found in a variety of combinations and prices to suit the customers choice and needs.
- Getting Away from Traditional Colors: Blue is an evergreen
color of denim apparels. In a survey, 39% of women confided that they prefer medium blue, 24.2% chose dark blue and 16.9% of them favor light blue. 19.9% have other
choices. With the change in fads, color denims are showing up in the market. Popular
colors are faded vintage, crosshatch, blasted vintage, and dark vintage. Browns
and other pale shades offbeat the typical blues and is now becoming a key
trend. Followed by this is the use of monochromatic color, and tone on tone
ones. New purple over dyed indigo makes Lindigo denims along with earthy
shades of pine green, pinon, dried bone and rawhide. Jeans in its traditional
blue color is no longer in vogue, but prints. Brands like Lee Cooper, Killer
and Chelsea are getting away from the traditional colors. Lee Coopers products are available in a retro wash range of burgundy, while Pepe, an international brand
manufactures denim apparels in novel colors of orange, sober beige and green.
- Modal Cottons: Modal fibres are made from reconstituted
cellulose from the beech tree. It is used with a proper blend of cotton for
tailoring denim apparels. These denims are made of 70% cotton and 30% modal
twill and are mostly available in the colors of indigo, gold, tan, and stone
washed. It is resistant to wrinkles and thus gives an added advantage when
blended with cotton fibres.
- Special Finishes and Coating: Fabrics with special
finishes and coating add sophistication to the attire, and provide comfort to the wearer. Reversible fabrics, double twisted yarns, add a new dimension to
the fabric. Digital prints distressed corduroy, printed denim, and mesh warp
knits are also seen in the fabrics. Fancy denims with needle punch, heatset and
laser treatments, and denims with colored resin coatings and spray on colors dominate the scene.
- Bullet proof denim Fabrics: Levi Strauss has come up with
a denim jacket with a level IIIA bullet proof lining sewn inside the jacket. It
has the looks of a perfect casual wear with an all around protection. It comes
with a hefty price tag of around 775.
- Vegetable Dyes: There are more than 500 color giving
plants in this world. Generally, denim being a cotton fabric makes it difficult
to dye with natural dyes. But skilled methods are used to apply vegetable dyes
in denims. Indigo dyes are used to bring blue color in the fabric. Greener
shades are obtained by dyeing the fabric in an indigo vat and then over dyeing
the same in yellow producing dye. Increasing concern on global warming has made
more and more people buying denims colored with vegetable dyes.
- Ripped Jeans: Of the many things that defy explanation in the
world of fashion, Ripped jeans is one. This baffling trend initially sprung up during the early 80s, then faded away and has revived once again to be currently seen
on the runways. This started as a popular street trend, and is slowly creeping
into the high street and catwalks.
Starting from the hottest
designer brands to the faked ones, denim has become everybodys all-time favorite.
It is like a workhorse that lives for many years, and withstands tough washing
treatments that most other fabrics do not. Denim is now handled with care and
efforts as most other luxurious fabrics of the world and will rein in the
global fabric market for the coming decades as well.