NEW YORK — Heading into 2003, jeans executives admitted they’re concerned that no new strong denim fashion trends have yet to emerge to draw shoppers into the stores to buy another pair.
The last big ideas to hit the market were the now-ubiquitous low-rise cuts and hand-sanded whiskers, intended to give jeans an antique feel.
Just how common the latter trend has become was illustrated by a recent episode of the TV cartoon "King of the Hill." In this show, Bobby Hill made a pair of jeans for his middle-American, conservative dad, Hank. Once he was sure the jeans fit appropriately, he took a palm sander to the seams to soften them up and make the jeans look broken in. The propane-selling Hank was delighted with the results —and not just because his misunderstood son is using a power tool.
"It’s almost old hat, when a trend reaches the animated version," said Michael Silver, president of Western Glove Works, the maker of Silver Jeans.
Dick Gilbert, president of junior jeans vendor Mudd Inc., summed up the worry succinctly: "We need a big trend desperately. But if I had an answer to that, I’d be the richest man in the world."
On denim jeans, one common theme for spring that’s expected to carry through into fall is toned-down washes. After aggressively washing and sanding down jeans for the past few seasons, vendors are focusing on cleaner, subtler looks.
Stretch denim is also seen as a continuing important trend for next year, though Guess Inc.’s general merchandise manager for women’s, Rosella Giuliani, said, "We also think it’s important to reintroduce rigid [denim] back into the marketplace."
However, a bigger trend is for makers to offer more nondenim fabrics, including corduroy, traditional cotton twill and knit athletic fabrics. That’s a hedge to ensure that companies don’t get caught with unsalable lines if consumers lose interest in denim.
One trend that isn’t changing yet is low rises, but it is evolving. After plunging to almost obscene levels with jeans that threatened to fall off the wearer at the shake of a hip, designers have raised waistbands up an inch or so, more at the back, to ensure the jeans fit and don’t reveal too much of the wearer’s anatomy.In the junior market, designers are rolling out wider waistbands — adorned with belts or, in some cases, another piece of fabric — that can make the jeans look more plunging than they really are.
"It gives a lower-rise look," explained Carl Eckhaus, president of So Sweet LLC, the New York-based maker of Angels Jeans.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast