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Designing Denim? Think Demographics, Not Fashion Trends

Denim might be timeless, but the segment isn’t excused from the same shifts in consumer preferences, spending, weather and sales calendar that are affecting the fashion and retail industries.

“Today, we have key players in the business that take nine weeks from idea to market. Meanwhile, other people need 52 weeks. We have multiple lifespans of trends that are crisscrossing and shattering our traditional trend and fashion business,” said Monsieur-T Studio Founder and Creative Director Tilmann Wröbel. “There’s a lot of exciting things, but nothing super-exciting,” he continued.

Monsieur-T Studios, an international studio for denim and bottom design, curated a new installation for Bluezone called Demographics. Rather than examine seasonal trends, Monsieur-T focused on eight consumer profiles, or demographics based on lifestyle, that influence the denim market. The studio broke down the key fabrics, shapes and styling that resonate with each group as well as inspirational images, magazine covers and related online media.

Dark indigo and denim shirts speak to The Managers, a group of professionals that abide by traditional workplace dress codes and save denim for casual Fridays. However, Vice, a Gen Y-oriented group that plays into ironic fashion, prefer louder styling and open end optics. “There’s a certain community code to it; fittings and looks are important,” Wröbel said.

As he assembled the installation, Wröbel said major gaps in the market became evident. While many mills tout tight and stretchy fabrics that cater to the Beautiful People, a demographic that aims to look sexy and wealthy, virtually no mills were offering fabrics targeted to men in the Vogue demographic, a segment that favors high fashion, forward-thinking designs.

“When we focus on trends we lose direction. We should focus on the people who are consuming,” he said.

Wröbel urged mills and brands to consider what their target demographic expects. “Even if your demographic has a specific demand that might be odd, go for it,” he encouraged. “If they want to share jeans with others, think about how you’re going to design a jean for more than one person. Think forward. There are changes and opportunities in our business… and if we share the vision, we can identify directions.”