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Yeezy and The ’90s Influence Back-to-School Denim Purchases

School has already begun for many children across the U.S., but back-to-school shopping continues, and denim is a hot item for retailers selling to the juniors market.

WGSN Retail Editor Sidney Morgan-Petro said the 2016 back-to-school season is on par with previous seasons. “I think this year is keeping the trend that we saw last year. People are shopping online earlier, starting in June. And the in-store product is landing later than before,” Morgan-Petro reported.

The retail trends indicate that back-to-school shoppers who want to buy their fall fashion during the summer are turning to online, Morgan-Petro reported. As a result, brick-and-mortars are responding by stocking in-season items and keeping the summer clothing in their store for longer.

“I think it’s pretty great,” she said. “The retail cycle is becoming a little more logical for the consumer, actually based around weather.”

Retro Reigns
The 90s are still a major trend for juniors buying denim. “[There is] a lot of emphasis on grunge, higher rise, loose fit, the mom jeans and overalls,” Morgan-Petro said.

She added, “The biggest trend that’s not exactly a trend is skinny jeans. This accounts for the vast majority of sales.”

Skinny jeans have been the most popular cut for arguably over ten years. Approximately 60 percent of all jeans sold for juniors are skinny, however Morgan-Petro hinted that skinny’s star may be fading.

“If you asked me two years ago, I would have said that skinny jeans aren’t going anywhere, but in this past year I’ve started to come around to the idea that they’ll lose their spot,” she said. “Mostly because I see it on the street—these kind of roomier, baggier silhouettes. It will happen here first [in New York], it will happen in L.A. and then it will trickle down,” she explained.

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There is a type of “tipping point” for trends like the most dominate cut of jeans, and its visible in the retail trends. One data point Morgan-Petro cited is the styles of denim that have sold out in stores and have been restocked.

“A lot of them were loose fit and wide,” she said. It is likely these wider cut jeans were stocked in much lower volumes, but Morgan-Petro said it shows that consumers are interested in different cuts and are eager to snap them up.

Fashion First
Denim trends for back-to-school run deeper than silhouettes. Morgan-Petro said details are driving units, including different embroidered patches on denim, or intricate patchwork jeans.

Jagged, almost ripped hemlines, are popular among all denim made items, from jeans to denim jackets, vests and overalls.

And then there’s the “Yeezy effect” to consider. Morgan-Petro said a lot of retailers are featuring jeans in military tones, dusty pinks and natural earth colors, much like Yeezy Season 3. “I think this trend has legs,” she quipped. “This is a trend we could see continue.”