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LONDON — Net-a-porter is flying the flag for denim.

This story first appeared in the May 6, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The luxury online retailer launched a dedicated denim boutique on its Web site last week that aims to guide customers through the multitude of washes, rises and fits on offer in the denim market.

“Denim has been an incredible category since the beginning [of Net-a-porter],” said Alison Loehnis, vice president of sales and marketing at Net-a-porter. “Our customers are buying multiple pairs of jeans throughout the course of the year.”

According to Loehnis, denim sales had risen 80 percent this year compared with last year.

The boutique categorizes denim according to wash, fabric type, rise, silhouette and body shape, and also gives customers the option to shop by color or designer. Loehnis said the company had three different types of denim customers in mind when creating the boutique: a customer who “knows her brand and is all about fit,” one seeking inspiration and new trends and one who is looking for “a helping hand” when it comes to size and fit.

“Service is really at the heart [of the boutique],” said Loehnis.

Net-a-porter’s style advisers underwent “an immersion” in denim, Loehnis said, trying on all the styles the boutique offers so they can advise customers either via e-mail or phone.

Loehnis said she sees the growth in Net-a-porter’s denim sales continuing, driven by staple denim styles, such as skinny and boot-cut jeans, and edgier looks with zipper details and wax finishes by labels such as Rick Owens’ Drkshdw. Current bestsellers include legging-style jeans, jeans with a high rise and boyfriend styles, such as those by Current/Elliott. Prices in the boutique range from $98 for Juicy Couture’s cropped denim leggings to $1,610 for Balmain’s distressed cropped jeans with chain mail details.

The boutique also carries editorial features, such as its top 10 denim moments, with images of the “Charlie’s Angels” girls, Brooke Shields and Marilyn Monroe wearing denim. The site then provides links to similar product.

Loehnis declined to give sales projections, but U.S. denim sales already doubled since the site launched last week. Best-selling styles in the U.S. include J Brand’s midrise skinny-leg jeans in midnight blue; Current/Elliott’s back lace-up, low-rise skinny jeans and Seven For All Mankind’s midrise, boot-cut jeans in navy. Best-selling labels globally include J Brand, Seven For All Mankind, Citizens of Humanity, Current/Elliott and Victoria Beckham Denim.

Last year, Net-a-porter reported a 47.8 percent rise in sales to 81.5 million pounds, or $147.6 million at average exchange.

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