An outfit concept from the Riders by Lee spring 2018 collection. Photo courtesy of Riders by Lee.

As heritage denim brand Lee Jeans unveils its spring collections for Riders by Lee and Crafted by Lee, the company delivers complete outfit concepts and a noted emphasis on plus-size apparel options.

Riders by Lee’s outfit concepts include an assortment of classic silhouettes with “updated elements” such as dobby and clip dot fabric button-ups and tops made with Lurex for added shine, the company said. Its tops are paired with printed and textured belts to complement each denim style, while chino shorts and capris are made of brushed cotton blends with a soft hand and added stretch.

Noni Montaque, Lee’s design lead for casuals and tops, said women are busy. “Oftentimes when they’re [shopping], they have a lot to accomplish and not a lot of time to do so,” Montaque told WWD. “We designed our tops and bottoms so that a consumer can quickly pick out an outfit that looks stylish and on trend for the season, but will still be comfortable and not break her budget. Each piece is designed to be mixed and matched or worn as separates.”

Montaque said Riders by Lee includes a performance line, On the Go, which offers apparel outfitted in technical fabrics. “We use synthetic fabrics that offer wrinkle-resistant capabilities with breathability and that have wicking properties to help our consumer stay cool and comfortable,” Montaque said. “We also pay a lot of attention to the details. For instance, all [of] our hems [for On the Go] are finished so that a rolled chino or denim short can be unrolled into a Bermuda length. It offers our consumer more versatility.”

Riders by Lee designers, from left: Brandi Silver, plus denim designer; Heather Collins, missy denim designer; MaryAnn Kozikowski, casuals designer; Noni Ashaki, casuals designer; Georgiana Varzarus, tops designer. Photo courtesy of Riders by Lee  Suzi Nelson

Noted denim trends include higher rises, heavier weighted fabrics, more hem details and reworked fabrics inspired by Nineties nostalgia, the company said. Heather Collins, the design lead for denim at Lee Jeans, told WWD, “We’ve interpreted those trends into items like the Straight Leg Crop with dropped hem, the reworked flare crop and the high-rise skinny release hem,” as well as the addition of “elevated levels of detailing, including copper hardware, new hem styles, new washes and distressing.”

And recent attention to plus-size fashion has incited change within the industry: “We’re also continuing to break the mold when it comes to fashion inclusivity, by offering styles that maintain design integrity from a size 6 to 26,” Collins said.

“We prioritize size inclusivity, and a lot of that comes down to our focus on fit technology and design integrity,” Collins explained. “As sizes go up or go down, our team of all-female designers keep each body type at the forefront of their minds, recognizing that waist size is only one factor to consider when constructing product for all women. You can see this attention to detail in our comfort no-gap waistband, or the pocket positioning on the bust of our tops.”

Tricia Carey, the director of global business development for denim at Lenzing, said the “evolution of denim and fit is not limited to one size range; it is inclusive to all body shapes and sizes. Brands are able to work with the right silhouettes and fabrics to achieve an amazing fit for all figures. This marketing shift is apparent in brand campaigns, as well as bloggers and influencers appealing to an inclusive size range.”

Lee’s Crafted by Lee line retrofits Bermuda shorts and capri jeans with subtle flares and step, fringed and released hems. “The resurgence of Bermuda shorts in particular has to do with the hem length and the overall Nineties inspiration that is happening now. Having a slightly longer hem length makes them incredibly versatile for updating your warm weather style. You can turn a relaxed, casual look into an elegant one with ease,” Collins told WWD.

The new collection’s “vintage inspiration” plays out in higher-density cotton fabrics that help deliver a vintage look and feel. Crafted by Lee incorporates cotton blends that allow for an “authentic” denim feel with a slight stretch, the company said.

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