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The top 10 most-searched-for denim brands online for the month of April.

Los Angeles is clearly the place to be a denim enthusiast. Of the top 10 most-searched-for denim brands listed below, more than half are based in sunny SoCal. “This is definitely a clear indication that L.A. is producing styles that are at the top of popularity in the U.S.,” said Alex Mendoza, partner of Stylophane.com, San Francisco, an e-commerce and marketing company. “They have the special eye right now for what is selling.” Stylophane.com’s Brand Popularity Index tracks more than 400 fashion brands and how often they are searched for online, using popular search engines such as Yahoo and MSN. “Search volume” refers to the total number of times the brand was entered into a search engine. Celebrities appear in ads for a number of the top-rated brands, and some give brands free publicity by mentioning them in magazine articles when they’re asked what jeans they’re wearing.

1. TRUE RELIGION JEANS
Search volume for the month of April: 146,319
With celebrities such as Jessica Simpson, Heidi Klum, Madonna and Angelina Jolie wearing the brand, it’s no wonder True Religion’s sales continue to rise. The Los Angeles company recently reported that its earnings rose 68.9 percent to $6.5 million in the three months ended March 31, while sales for the quarter were up 77.1 percent to $35.6 million. Denim accounted for 78 percent of sales. True Religion executives also noted in a conference call that they are interested in taking the company private once again.

2. JOE’S JEANS
Search volume: 116,771
Founded by Joe Dahan, the premium denim line has specific fits (the Twiggy, the Socialite and the Muse, to name a few) geared to certain body types and personalities. The brand is owned by Los Angeles-based Innovo Group, which released its first-quarter 2006 financial results in April. Net sales for Joe’s branded apparel increased 92 percent to $10.1 million compared with $5.2 million in the same period a year ago. Marc Crossman, interim chief executive officer, president and chief financial officer, commented, “We are very pleased with the performance of our Joe’s Jeans business during the quarter. Our Joe’s business was driven by continued demand for our women’s product, coupled with the solid debut of our men’s line.”

This story first appeared in the May 25, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

3. DIESEL
Search volume: 85,438
At its fashion show in New York in February, WWD reported that Diesel’s creative director, Wilbert Das, showed off an eclectic, if not provocative, mix for fall: “Indeed, there was something for everyone — which makes sense, given that 65 percent of Diesel’s annual sales come from the firm’s branded stores.” Last week, Diesel made its presence known on London’s Bond Street; the Italian denim label launched its latest London flagship on the legendary shopping strip, and Heather Graham and Camilla Al Fayed stopping in to say hello.

4. GUESS
Search volume: 80,949
Taking advantage of famous faces such as Paris Hilton and Claudia Schiffer for its sexy print ad campaigns has kept this Los Angeles denim brand on consumers’ minds. Earlier this month, WWD reported that Guess “outperformed its own estimates during the first quarter, as earnings soared 88.6 percent on strong sales.” In a statement, co-chairman and co-chief executive officer Paul Marciano commented, “Our retail business’ strong comp performance contributed to significant profit growth.” In February, Marciano pointed out the company has been working to expand its international operations — Guess opened 45 freestanding retail apparel stores and 57 accessories stores outside the U.S. last year.

5. LEVI’S
Search volume: 51,795
The iconic denim brand has seen its shares of ups and downs over the last few years. WWD reported in April that, for the three months ended Feb. 26, the San Francisco denim giant’s earnings rose 13.7 percent to $53.8 million compared with $47.3 million in the same period a year ago. However, overall revenues for the first quarter fell 5.8 percent to $960 million compared with $1.02 billion in the year-ago period. Europe’s poor retail environment was cited as having the biggest sales impact, which has been the case since the second quarter of 2005. In December, Levi Strauss held the grand opening of its Beverly Hills store, which has over 4,100 square feet of selling space.

6. APPLE BOTTOMS
Search volume: 43,446
Hip-hop mogul Nelly created this denim line in 2002. In September, WWD reported the company is discussing plans to launch swimwear, lingerie and a fragrance. “The Apple Bottoms woman has grown up and we’ve grown with her,” said chief executive officer Yomi Martin, who’s also Nelly’s cousin. “We’re trying to be a brand for all women.” Devoted fans of the brand include “America’s Next Top Model” winner Eva, Alicia Keys and Oprah Winfrey (who tapped Apple Bottoms as one of Oprah’s Favorite Things in 2004).

7. SEVEN JEANS
Search volume: 39,432
When denim searchers log in the term “Seven Jeans,” a couple of brands appear. Seven For All Mankind, known in fashion circles just as Seven, is the popular premium denim brand out of Los Angeles founded by Peter Koral in 2000. A number of celebrities, such as Nicole Richie, Debra Messing and Drew Barrymore, swear by the brand. But don’t forget Seven7, the plus-size label sold exclusively in Lane Bryant stores. Last year, Lane Bryant, owned by Charming Shoppes Inc., signed “American Idol” finalist Kimberley Locke as Seven7’s celebrity spokesmodel.

8. EVISU
Search volume: 19,367
The motivation behind the number of searches for this well-known denim brand these days could have less to do with its jeans and more to do with an alleged management scandal. The company and its president, Hidehiko Yamane, as well as another company, were reported in March to public prosecutors on suspicion of tax evasion, according to local Japanese media outlets. Evisu was founded in 1988 under the name Evis in Japan (it was changed to Evisu in 1991) and is popular with Japanese consumers, as well as celebrities and sports figures.

9. VON DUTCH
Search volume: 16,694
Though Von Dutch’s trucker hats helped to gain this young brand plenty of attention, the firm also produces denim, eyewear, jewelry, T-shirts and other accessories for men, women and children. The Los Angeles brand recently launched its denim Octane and Christina lines. The Von Dutch logo, splashed across many of its products, has been spotted on Halle Berry, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Teri Hatcher, who’s been seen in Los Angeles in her superskinny Von Dutch jeans.

10. MISS SIXTY
Search volume: 15,813
Mischa Barton, Gwen Stefani (pre-pregnancy), Lindsay Lohan and Paula Abdul help publicize this brand each time they wear it. And the brand got another celebrity boost in February when Ashanti, Michelle Williams, Mira Sorvino and Rufus Wainwright attended its fall 2006 fashion show in New York. The latest ad campaign girl, Asia Argento, closed the show in a slinky black lace number.

Source: Stylophane.com, a e-commerce design and marketing company based in San Francisco