Heritage denim brand Riders by Lee is pioneering the trend toward “fashion inclusivity” for its fall collection. Led by an all-female design team, its latest “Made to Move” denim campaign spotlights body positivity for women and relays the importance of size inclusivity by introducing styles that “communicate movement, comfort and confidence” for women of different body types.
The fall collection includes athletic-inspired casualwear, slimmer fits and details such as distressing, sanding and raw and released hems.
And size inclusivity is a trend, as the fashion industry is shifting toward the acceptance of curvier figures and recognizing “the untapped market of inclusive fashion,” the company said. In a study from the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education, it was revealed that the average American woman wears a size 16 and “plays an important role in growing apparel sales,” which are expected to reach $24 billion in revenue by 2020, according to the report.
Heather Collins, a designer for Riders by Lee, said, “Each of us on the design team has experienced the frustration that shopping can bring, and we want to make that process easier. Riders by Lee has always been a brand that understood how to fit real women. Now, we’re taking that expertise and translating it into relevant, fashionable and on-trend styles that our consumer is excited to wear.”
Here, Collins shares insights into inclusivity and how to “fashion the perfect fit.”
WWD: What trends in denim are meaningful right now?
Heather Collins: For Riders by Lee, it’s all about fit technology and fashion-conscious detailing. We want to ensure our female consumer feels both comfortable and fashionable when putting on a pair of Riders by Lee jeans. We designed our new, modern midrise to minimize tummy issues, and we designed our skinny jeans with vertical piecing on the hip pocket to create a flattering and uplifting look. Beyond the fit, we also prioritized detailing. When women are shopping for jeans, they pay close attention to the details, from new hem designs to custom buttoning. We kept that desire in mind for the fall Riders by Lee collection. This season, our Riders by Lee fall collection includes details like distressing, sanding and raw released hems.
WWD: Are there any trend projections the Riders by Lee team can share?
H.C.: When it comes to industry trends, we anticipate a deeper focus on the evolution of inclusivity. We’ve witnessed the shift in better serving women with curvier figures, but now brands are prioritizing the technology of fit more than ever before, by designing beautiful pieces that can flatter a size 4 or 24. Another trend we’ve seen continue to gain momentum is the focus on quality over quantity. Consumers want to know that the clothes they’re buying are not only trend right, but built to last. As a national brand anchored in a 100-plus year heritage, we understand and can deliver on that trend.
WWD: How does Riders by Lee utilize “fit technology?”
H.C.: Innovation, including fit technology is not only a priority to us, but to [VF Corp.] as a whole. The company has built a global innovation center that focuses on denim development including advancing product fit. For Riders by Lee, we apply fit technology to complement the female figure. The fit of a product varies greatly whether you’re designing for tall, petite or plus-sized women. From pocket placement and hems to the shading of denim, we construct our products to best enhance a woman’s shape and offer a great fit, regardless of size.
WWD: Has there been any experimentation with different types of denims to accommodate a variety of body shapes and sizes?
H.C.: Absolutely. We focus on inclusivity in fit and fabric. Our goal is to provide women with jeans that move with her throughout her daily activities. Denim needs to be comfortable, with the right amount of stretch and great recovery.
WWD: Are there any insights Riders by Lee can share on the trend of “inclusivity?”
H.C.: Inclusivity has been a hot topic of discussion for several years now, and continues to break the barrier of traditional industry standards. We know that the average American woman wears a size 16, and represents billions of dollars in revenue for the apparel sector. These business implications have led to a shift in how apparel is designed and also how it’s marketed. We operate with the mind-set that fashion transcends waist size. We always have. We’re committed to fitting real women, and are using our expertise to bring women styles that they’re excited to wear.
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