NEW YORK — While jeans executives said driving fashion trends — especially coming up with new washes — will remain a key to generating sales growth next year, they’re also taking a pragmatic approach in their design decisions.
Among the key developments:
Executives expect the low-rise trend to continue, but it’s shifting into a second phase. Through most of this year, designers have pushed to come up with lower-rise looks for fashion leaders willing to run the risk of either looking indecent or resembling a plumber, depending on whether they were viewed from the front or back.
Rather than pushing rises lower, vendors are focused on using contoured waistbands, which rise higher in the back, to make slightly lower rises accessible to a wider range of consumers.
Vendors are also prepared to skirt the shorts issue. For a few years running, shorts have sold poorly during their brief season. Executives said their summer assortments will include a wider variety of skirts and cropped pants, which can fill the warm-weather niche, but also get some wear in the cooler months.
In denim, designers continue to focus on lightweight fabrics with stretch properties that can work in more fashionable silhouettes.
Jeans firms are also trying to not bet the house on denim. Consumer demand is holding up, but executives are starting to worry that after a year and a half the trend might have run its course. They’re planning to include more corduroy, non-denim twill and other fabrics in their spring and fall lines.

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