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Year in Review: Denim in the Headlines

Viral TikTok trends, brand collaborations and celeb-filled runway shows kept denim in the spotlight in 2022. 

The never-ending cascade of fashion cores spanning Barbiecore to Bikercore gave brands plenty to chase, while denim heads, including actress Julia Fox, turned to DIY tutorials to create their own indigo masterpieces. The supply chain introduced new solutions for natural dyes, circular fibers and biodegradable products. Trim manufacturers launched removable buttons and rivets to streamline the recycling process, and retailers added pre-owned fashion to their sales floor in an effort to satiate Gen Z’s thirst for all things Y2K and vintage. 

In short, denim’s post-pandemic glow-up continues despite rising costs for just about everything that goes into the making of a jean. 

January

American Eagle Outfitters raises its 2023 financial targets following a joyous holiday season.

Fashion for Good launches consortium project to accelerate the shift from wet to mostly dry textile processing.

The denim in Pre-Fall 2022 collections is a battle of bold versus classic, resulting in an exciting-to-look-at hodge-podge of fits, finishes and styling.

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EU-funded circular accelerator SwitchMed and Nudie Jeans announce they repurposed 6,530 pairs of second-quality jeans into 16,000 new pairs made of 20 percent recycled cotton in a pilot project.

Saitex opens a state-of-the-art fabric mill in Vietnam. 

Levi Strauss & Co. president and CEO Chip Bergh says the world is still in the “early innings” of the shift to looser fits, signaling more success to come for both men’s and women’s jeans categories.

Searches for double denim pop off following viral photos showing Ye (formerly known as Kanye West) and actress/artist Julia Fox in coordinating indigo garb at men’s fashion week in Paris. Lyst reports that searches for “double-denim” shot up 31 percent week-on-week following the public display.

U.S. brands and retailers import $308.10 million worth of jeans in January. 

February

Jordache releases a campaign starring Brooke Shields.

Crescent Bahuman implements blockchain-based PaperTale’s tracing solution.  

Study shows Naia fibers biodegrade in the ocean within months.

7 For All Mankind, Driftwood, Scotch & Soda and more take home Rivet x Project Awards at Las Vegas.

Pangaia uses Archroma’s EarthColors for denim workwear. 

Pangaia Courtesy

Denim Tears’ Tremaine Emory joins Supreme as creative director.

Frame responds to consumers’ pent-up demand for travel with Jetset Jeans, a comfort-focused high-stretch pant. 

Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga debuts a $440 jean moto jacket.

Protestors from the Changing Markets Foundation and Extinction Rebellion make an impression at London Fashion Week.

Denim anchors Maurices’ new tween girl line. 

Jack & Jones drops C2C Gold certified jeans.

March

Lenzing opens a Thai lyocell plant for Tencel with a capacity of 100,000 tons per year.

American Eagle reports it did $2 billion in Q4 denim sales. 

International Labour Organization says cotton in Uzbekistan is now “free” of child and forced labor. 

Marks & Spencer debuts circular jeans for men, women and kids. 

Pantone and Valentino debut “Valentino Pink PP,” inspiring a flood of bright pink fashion for the remainder of the year. 

Valentino Pink PP

Gap Inc. joins brands like H&M and Inditex in suspending deliveries to Russia.

Levi’s reaches over $5.8 billion in revenue—its highest revenue since 1998. 

Fred Segal reveals The Original Jean Bar at its L.A. flagship, offering premium and sustainable denim brands. 

The NPD Group names straight-leg jeans the top-selling fit among women in the U.S. surpassing the once universally popular skinny jean. 

Target adds Levi’s products to 300 additional stores. 

Net-a-Porter launches exclusive sustainable designs by Agolde, Citizens of Humanity and Goldsign.

G-Star Raw launches NFTs based on its G-No the rhino mascot. 

C&A opens a German jeans factory.

Dickies rolls out 100th anniversary celebrations, beginning with a campaign that pays tribute to the makers that have dressed in tits garments for the last century. 

April

Small-batch label Hiut Denim celebrates its 10th anniversary. 

AG, Gloria Vanderbilt, Amiri and Levi’s are among The NPD Group’s list of best-selling denim brands.  

Scotch & Soda adds repair services at its Amsterdam store.

Scotch & Soda’s Amsterdams Blauw store was updated to include the brand’s first upcycled denim capsule and denim repair service.
Scotch & Soda’s Amsterdams Blauw store Courtesy

TikTok users discover how showering with their jeans on can result in a pair of better-fitting bottoms.

Guess offers an in-store recycling program benefitting Homeboy Recycling, which sorts and processes items for repair and resale, as well as upcycling and recycling.

Stony Creek Colors inks deal with Archroma to scale its IndiGold high-performance plant-based pre-reduced indigo.

Levi’s announces that it plans to open 100 locations in Thailand. 

Gap Inc.’s Personal Advancement and Career Enhancement (P.A.C.E.) program reaches 1 million women and girls in 17 countries.

Lyst names Kim Kardashian-approved Balenciaga and Gucci the hottest brands in Q1 2022. 

Kingpins Amsterdam and Denim Days return to in-person events. 

Western and destroyed denim lead festival fashion trends at Coachella.

Zara gets size-inclusive thanks to a collaboration with Khloe Kardashian’s Good American brand.   

May

Old Navy named consumers’ favorite-fitting brand by True Fit.

Jack & Jones is the first to use Milliner Organic Cotton.

Primark commits to ensuring all its clothing is made from recycled or more sustainably sourced materials by 2030.

Candiani debuts hemp-infused Tencel fabrics. 

Lenzing and Candiani Denim have developed Tencel Limited Edition with hemp and Coreva fabrics, available only at Candiani's Milan stores.
Candiani Denim x Lenzing Courtesy

Jacquard denim, hemp fabrics and natural dyes abound at Denim Premiere Vision’s first trade show in Berlin. 

Isko presents PG Denim’s Paolo Gnutti, a collection of premium fabrics concepts geared to luxury brands.

Trendalytics names acid wash, cuffed jeans and the color purple as trends to watch in men’s denim.

Tommy Hilfiger parent company PVH allots funds for the House of Denim Foundation.

Abercrombie & Fitch Inc. CEO Fran Horowitz says women’s denim, dresses and knits delivered their highest first-quarter sales and AUR in over a decade.

Soorty breaks ground on a 6.26-megawatt captive solar project in Pakistan. 

June

Mud Jeans debuts 100 percent post-consumer recycled cotton jeans.

Bluesign teams with Sustainable Chemistry for the Textile Industry (SCTI) to develop a sustainable chemistry index that will provide a standard communication guide for chemical suppliers, manufacturers, brands and NGOs.

Levi’s opens a Haus of Strauss in Mexico City.

Farfetch says sales of “Conscious” products grew 1.8 times faster than the marketplace’s average last year.

Denim brands react to the fall of Roe v. Wade on social media.

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition commissions a review of the data and methodology of the Higg Materials Sustainability Index.

AGI Denim achieves B Corp certification.

Loewe grows plants on jeans with bio-designer Paula Ulargui Escalona.

Loewe

U.S. brands and retailers imported $2.05 billion worth of denim apparel in the first half of the year, according to OTEXA. 

July

Levi’s relaunches ’90s-era SilverTab at exclusively at Kohl’s. 

Rudolf Group marks its 100th birthday with a modern rebrand. 

Monki debuts its first products that follow Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Jeans Redesign project.    

Monki’s Jeans Redesign collection.

Vacation-ready prints, bright colors and biodegradable fabrics trend at Project New York—the first since the start of the pandemic.

Mud Jeans and Saitex land on B Lab’s 2022 “Best for the World” list. 

AGI Denim opens “Exquisite Blue Towers,” a gallery exhibition in New York City.  

German brand Closed opens its first U.S. store, a popup in L.A.

Balenciaga, Schiaparelli and more feature denim in their Fall 2022 haute couture collections in Paris. 

August

Lenzing throws support behind the Dutch Denim Deal to drive circularity. 

Wrangler bows a collection of licensed collegiate apparel made in collaboration with Colosseum Athletics. 

Wrangler’s collegiate apparel

Old Navy joins the Fifteen Percent Pledge, the racial equity and economic justice nonprofit that encourages corporations to commit 15 percent of their purchasing power to Black-owned businesses.

Denim takes center stage at Cotton Citizen’s new Beverly Hills store. 

H&M introduces “Better Denim” collection amid claims that it falsely advertised its sustainability practices.

Good American launches denim-inspired swimwear. 

Huue raises $14.6 million to scale its bacteria-derived indigo. 

Naked & Famous, Caterpillar, Joe’s, Artmeetschaos and more take home Rivet x Project Awards.

Re/Done says “bonjour” with its first store in Paris.

September

NFTS, sustainable stretch denim and better basics are hot topics at Bluezone in Munich.

Tommy Hilfiger returns to NYFW with a star-studded Andy Warhol-themed fashion show.

Ye pulls the plug on his Yeezy collaboration with Gap after accusing the brand of copying his designs for their own merchandise. 

Hugo Boss and Replay combine styles in a denim-meets-athleisure collaboration.

Levi’s announces plans to add secondhand and upcycling initiatives in top markets by 2025. 

Edited says the number of men’s skinny jeans in stores plummeted from 48 percent in 2021 to 21 percent in 2022.

Levi’s expands its use of natural indigo with custom fabric from Cone Denim.

Isko opens a Creative Room near Hamburg, Germany to support local clients’ R&D needs.

Creative Room

WGSN and Coloro name Apricot Crush the 2024 color of the year.

American Eagle reports it has slashed water consumption by an average of 36 percent per pair of jeans produced.

Footwear stalwart Frye announces plans to launch a denim-focused apparel collection.

October

G-Star Raw taps into the Y2K trend by reissuing styles from 2000.  

Blue In Green announces plans to open a second store in Denver, Colo.

Madewell launches jeans made with Isko’s Bluesign-approved fabrics.  

Madewell's new Cali Denim-Boot in Smithley wash.
Madewell’s jean made with Bluesign-approved fabric. Madewell.com

Bright colors, removable trims and dry finishing technologies make a splash at Kingpins Amsterdam. 

Diesel’s parent company OTB aims for net zero by 2050. 

Calik Denim introduces biodegradable B210 technology. 

Khloe Kardashian, Jens Grede and Remi Bader are among the 2022 Rivet 50 honorees. 

Adidas, Gap, Vogue and Balenciaga cut ties with Ye after he makes a slew of antisemitic remarks.

Lucky Brand drops a collection of licensed “Yellowstone” apparel inspired by the popular ranch series.

Lee adds a vintage shopping vertical to its website, selling 1960s Lee Storm Rider jackets. 

Mother, Levi’s and Citizens of Humanity encourage consumers to vote early in the U.S. midterm elections.

November

Candiani gets into bespoke cotton with Blue Seed, an exclusive hybrid, non-GMO cotton variety, designed to be a stronger fiber. 

AG’s new animal-free leather employs organic biomass and other plant-based materials that eliminate toxic chemicals. 

Lee and The Brooklyn Circus pay homage to Black cowboys in a capsule collection. 

Victoria Beckham targets a younger consumer with a denim collaboration with influencer Mia Regan.

Women’s retail Maurices introduces a jeans exchange program for consumers that no longer fit into their jeans. 

Unspun partners with artist Bráulio Amado to add custom prints to its made-to-order jeans. 

Unspun x Bráulio Amado

Isko introduces Ctrl+Z, a new collection of fabrics made from 100 percent recycled and regenerative fibers.

To counter Black Friday sales, Hiut Denim promotes “the world’s most expensive pair of jeans” at the cost of 2 million pounds.

G-Star taps milliner Stephen Jones for a collection of haute couture hats.

Mills showcase premium collections at Denim PV in Milan, emphasizing fabrics with hemp, linen, bamboo and recycled fibers.

Levi Strauss & Co. names Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass president of Levi Strauss.

Guess Inc. report a net profit decline of 26.9 percent to $21.8 million from $29.9 million for the same period in the prior year in its third-quarter 2023 fiscal report. Meanwhile, Bansky claims the brand is illegally using their artwork on merchandise. 

Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Fran Horowitz says non-denim pants are an incoming trend.

December

Pantone names Viva Magenta Color of the Year for 2023.

True Religion teams with Supreme for a second time, offering Gore-Tex-lined products.

DL1961 and Perfect Moment release denim ski wear spanning laser printed puffer coats to jumpsuits.

Fashionart, a luxury jeans design and production consultancy in Italy, sold a majority ownership stake to Chanel.

Chanel has taken a majority stake in Italy’s Fashionart.
Chanel Resort 2023 WWD

Rivet, in partnership with Cotton Incorporated, releases the Spring/Summer 2024 In Season look book. The digital book highlights mills’ most durable and sustainable fabrics.

Matt Baldwin, the founder of the now defunct BLDWN denim, launches the upcycled brand Unity Service.

Wrangler partners with heritage boot maker Lucchese for premium cowboy boots and Cone jeans.

Remake takes to social media to urge Levi Strauss & Co. to sign the International Accord for Health and Safety in Textile and Garment Industry.