To say 2020 was a year unlike any other for the global denim industry would be an understatement. Like most of the industry, the Rivet team began the year brimming with optimistic for a new decade that promised smarter and more efficient denim manufacturing and sustainable innovations that would push fashion further into science.
Though Covid-19 paused some of those plans, the denim industry has not been short of news.
Throughout the year Rivet analyzed how the pandemic changed sourcing and retail strategies, and covered how the crisis helped sealed the fates of brands with already frail businesses. Rivet examined how consumers shifted their spending dollars during quarantine, the outbreak’s effect on fashion, and how designers are preparing for the post-pandemic consumer.
Here are Rivet’s top 20 most-read stories of the year.
A new year and decade meant a new era of fashion was on the horizon. With 2020 offering designers a clean slate, the year began as a time for brands to explore sustainability, fluid design and new forms of utility.
Since the start of the pandemic, denim brands of all sizes have shifted to mask production to provide both essential workers and the public with protective gear. Rivet rounded up some of the best face masks made by denim brands—and many of them have a charitable component as well, so you can feel good about your purchase.
A few months into the global pandemic, two established denim brands, Lucky Brand and G-Star Raw, found their businesses on shaky financial ground.
More than five years of research in circular denim design and a partnership with Swedish recycling textile technology startup Re:newcell led denim giant Levi’s to introduce its most sustainable denim product, a jean made with organic cotton and Circulose.
Denim-turned-lifestyle brand BLDWN was one of the first pandemic casualties in the fashion world. The brand shutdown in late March, despite overhauling its stores, branding and collections one year prior to its demise.
In April, Gap Inc. pressed pause on much of the product that would fill its stores throughout 2020. Fabric suppliers were also asked to stop production and keep all goods in their own facilities.
Denim is a focal point in model and influencer Hailey Bieber’s casual California style. Bieber’s denim style, however, has evolved from SoCal cutoff shorts to oversized designer silhouettes, not to mention a healthy collection of Levi’s 501 jeans.
Kanye West’s 10-year partnership with Gap may be the linchpin in his plan to jumpstart U.S. apparel and footwear manufacturing. A Yeezy spokesperson told Rivet parts of the brand’s partnership with Gap will be produced in the U.S.
When a sense of normalcy returns to retail, Fashion Snoops said color will be an impactful tool for companies to use to renew consumers’ spirits and drive shoppers to buy.
Denim brands like Zace Denim and Citizens of Humanity stepped up to the plate in March when governments called for assistance in producing protective face masks for front-line workers and the general public.
In a “normal” year, consumers would have stocked up on new fall jeans and players across the denim supply chain would have taken their biannual road show to trade shows around the world. Instead, new consumer demands, cultural movements and fashion with the sole intent to spark joy shaped 2020 style.
The visceral response to the killing of George Floyd and others victims of police brutality drive some fashion organizations, denim brands and streetwear designers to examine how they can help foster racial equality and social justice within their own companies and beyond.
Though designers are placing a greater emphasis on garments that offer versatility and comfort, jeans, it turns out, stand a solid chance of being part of that equation. The Spring/Summer 2021 collections presented during London, Milan and Paris fashion weeks resuscitated denim from its so-called loungewear-induced demise by showcasing designer jeans in wearable yet covetable ways.
Rivet reported on the nationwide lockdown in Bangladesh and what it meant to factory operations.
Women’s apparel and denim brands owned by embattled businessman Peter Nygard went up for sale in June following months of salacious headlines and troubling accusations for Nygard, who stepped down from his company in February after the Federal Bureau of Investigations raided his Manhattan quarters over sexual assault allegations.
During a hot quarantine summer, consumers rediscovered the effortlessly cool vibe jean shorts add to any outfit.
The wall that once barred fashion consumers from experiencing fashion week continued to crumble in 2020. Though bloggers, influencers, social media and “see now, buy now” concepts have slowly chiseled away at the exclusivity of fashion week, the Spring/Summer 2021 runway shows were more accessible than ever.
Wearing jeans during quarantine may have been an unpopular fashion choice, but customizing them was. A quick scroll through social media shows how DIY denim became a quarantine activity on par with baking banana bread and downloading TikTok.
The denim industry is weighed down by too much product and contradictory messages, according to members of the 2019 Rivet 50.
At one of the only in-person denim trade events to take place in 2020, Bluezone emphasized the need for mills and brands to be unique and focused.