The breadth of denim has evolved to transcend cultural boundaries, and has reached the widest range of prices, rises and washes the market has ever seen.
Consumers show no signs of slowing down their denim desires, especially when it comes to snatching up the hottest looks for spring, even as premium prices reach new heights.
“As far as I’m concerned, this is the most important time in the denim market since the Seventies,” said Brian Kaneda, denim co-buyer for Ron Herman, which operates five locations in Los Angeles.
Kaneda, who said the store has seen high-double-digit increases in denim sales since last year, said he fields at least 10 calls daily from new denim lines and doesn’t see the bubble bursting any time soon. “I think it’s only going to get bigger.”
Ron Herman has been doing well with lines such as True Religion, and with newcomers, including Stitches and Tsubi, from Australia.
“Denim business keeps getting stronger,” said Courtney Graham, manager at Armhole, a women’s and men’s denim store in the Lakewood Shopping Center in Dallas that attracts a young urban crowd because of its location near downtown and its mix of edgy merchandise.
“Women especially realize that, to look good, you sometimes have to make an investment, and so they’re not holding back on spending over $150 on a pair of denim jeans, especially a style that they’ll continue to wear a lot. I think, overall, customers are getting used to the concept of rising denim prices — I mean who’s going to stop wearing denim?”
Sales at Armhole have risen by high-single digits despite a surge in jean prices.
Specialty independent retailers in L.A. said denim is the only thing on shoppers’ minds and they’re willing to pay any price for it.
“We’re meeting no price resistance whatsoever because it’s such a way of life now,” said Jaye Hersh, owner of Intuition, the trendy West Los Angeles boutique and online emporium. “Once you’re over $250, it really doesn’t matter.”
Lines such as Stitches, retailing for $265, and Antik, at $275, are among her hot new brands, which she said customers are snapping up.
Steve Aoki held a presentation, a runway show and outdoor concert for his men's line Dim Mak. Here's a look from his spring 2018 collection, which was titled "Paradise Found." #wwdfashion #wwdmens (📷: George Chinsee)
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