BERLIN — Jeanswear buyers scoured the recent round of trade shows here for dressier denim at all price levels as brands look to emerging markets like Eastern Europe to boost their sales.
With slow growth in the U.S. and much of Western Europe, manufacturers focused on emerging markets, along with Japan and less mature markets in Asia, to sustain business into the spring 2014 season.
Participants in the Bread & Butter, Premium, Seek and Bright shows here this month said the denim business has been relatively stable against a backdrop of economic turbulence. But unseasonable weather left inventories high on both sides of the Atlantic, and the ongoing euro zone crisis kept some buyers from southern Europe away from Berlin. The versatility of jeans, and their central role in most consumers’ wardrobes, provided them with a degree of insulation, buyers said.
Sustainability remained an important talking point for many at the shows and variations on jean models — including dressier looks and pants-jeans hybrids adorned with elastic waistbands and cuffs, drawstrings and even knee pads — garnered considerable interest. So did tailored interpretations of denim that pushed the fabric into areas like suits and blazers, even as others experimented with more casual and active interpretations of jeans.