The memes questioning why anyone would wear jeans during quarantine are plenty, but players in the denim industry are not ready to break up with their jeans any time soon.
Quarantined consumers are searching online for items that bring them comfort, according to a Cotton Inc. survey that found that 84 percent of surveyed consumers expressed interest in clothing and textiles made for comfort. And The Lyst Index of the hottest items of Q1 show a dramatic shift in online searches from designer statement pieces to luxury loungewear items like Gucci sweatshirts. However, denim heads remain committed to their jeans and denim shirts.
“Whoever said you’re crazy for wearing jeans in quarantine is wrong,” said Ani Wells, founder of Simply Suzette. “They just haven’t found the right pair.”
From Milan to New York City, vintage jeans, chambray shirts and indigo knits are among the go-to items individuals in the denim business are wearing while they adjust to their work-from-home lifestyles. Artist Ian Berry opts for an oversized Kings of Indigo shirt for days in the studio. A jean jacket is an easy way for Global Denim creative director and new mom Anatt Finkler to dress up her effortless activewear look, and a vintage denim jacket is a practical item for Cone Denim president Steve Maggard, who enjoys working outside.
And while many admit to wearing sweatpants and pajamas during the early days of quarantine, the novelty soon wore off. Wearing pieces like Uniqlo’s stretch jeans and a shirt by Acne Studios helped Barbara Gnutti, CEO of Effe-Bi Srl, feel more energized and positive during Italy’s long lockdown.
For many, the seasons have changed while under shelter-in-place orders, too. A vintage, bleach-dyed tracksuit was Denim Dudes founder Amy Leverton’s go-to set all March when Los Angeles experienced unusually rough weather. Now, as the temperatures heat up, she said she’s opting for summery items like shorts, a tee and slides with socks. Likewise, L.A.-based Glenda Goldschmied of House of Gold is trading in cozy sweatpants for more ready-to-wear items like printed trousers and tees.
Wearing denim also adds a sense of normalcy and is a way to show pride in work. Triarchy co-founder and creative director Adam Taubenfligel has been wear-testing his brand’s new bio stretch jeans, which he says are “just as comfortable as sweatpants.” Zennure Danışman, Orta marketing and washing manager, wears tops made with the mill’s MarbleX fabric for a “retro-cool” work-from-home look.
And for Tricia Carey, Lenzing Group director global business development-denim, her wardrobe choices are an opportunity to showcase products by brands that use Tencel. “I try to wear something with Tencel fibers everyday while Zooming and FaceTime,” she said.