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Report: Sustainability to Drive Growth in Premium Denim Market

Not only a win for Mother Earth, sustainably-produced denim will prove to be good for brand’s pockets too.

Lead by innovations in manufacturing, new shopping patterns, and an increase in the use of sustainable production methods, the global premium denim market will is predicted to grow 8.09% by 2020, according to a new report by analyst team Technavio.

Technavio’s report indicates that the increase of recycled materials like plastics being used in denim, and the rise in demand for stretch jeans (among both men and women), will be the primary forces driving this growth in the market.

As the unsustainability of denim becomes more and more apparent to consumers and manufacturers, both denim companies and consumers will push for the use of recycled materials in jeans.

“Sustainable jeans are not only a concept for the developed nations but are also gaining prominence in developing countries, including India and China. Indian designers have developed eco-friendly denim that is manufactured using 100 percent organic cotton without using bleach,” said Brijesh Kumar Choubey, Technavio lead analyst.

Choubey also cites the innovations Levi’s has employed for sustainability as evidence of changes in the market. Levi’s cutting-edge technology helps to convert consumer waste into renewable fiber, using 98 percent less water than virgin cotton products.

According to Technavio, the demand for stretch denim will only increase. While the cost of producing stretch denim is 10–15 percent higher than non-stretch denim, consumers want the comfort and style that stretch provides.

Technavio’s also claims that the growth of the upper-middle class and high net worth individuals (HNWI) has spurred the expansion of the men’s luxury market. The Asia-Pacific region is now home to the largest HNWI population, surpassing North America with a population of 4.69 million in 2014. With an increase of 8.5%, China and Japan are the top two emerging countries in the global market and are experiencing a double-digit growth in HNWI population and ultra-NHWI wealth growth.

China’s HNWI’s are now contributing to about 33 percent of the luxury spending globally, followed by Americans by 25 percent and Europeans by 16 percent in 2015, says Technavio. Italian brands like Gucci and Bottega Veneta have opened their first full range men’s-only stores in China, and others like Dior and Alexander McQueen have followed suit.