On the surface, the denim category looks much like it did on the cusp of the new millennium.
Young consumers are donning wide-leg and low-rise jeans, not to mention styles splashed with prints, colors and all manner of bold ornamentation, while their more mature counterparts are slipping into bootcut, slim and straight fits in classic washes. After a decade of skinny jeans reigning as the de facto fit for women, men and children of all ages, a generational divide is splintering the jeans market yet again. But with so much attention focused on which styles Gen Z deems “cheugy,” it’s easy to overlook the ways jeans have morphed into entirely new product in the two decades since the Y2K era.
With mills investing in on-site cotton recycling systems, wastewater treatment and recycling plants, and developing their own indigo solutions to manage quality and sidestep worsening supply chain obstacles, the denim sector is revealing itself to be a technically complex problem-solver. Add science-based sustainability targets, certification requirements and the watchful eye of conscious consumers, and producing and selling 5-pocket blue jeans is now as nuanced as the multifaceted automotive and food industries.
When Levi Strauss CEO Chip Bergh declared in April that denim is entering a “new cycle,” the executive confirmed what many in the supply chain have been preparing for: a change in narrative that would step away from activewear-chasing product stories built on shaping and performance and toward a new ideology that prized variety, versatility, authenticity and responsible design.
Whether Gen Z’s nostalgic aesthetic or a simple desire for comfort sparked this next chapter, denim’s new cycle presents unlimited opportunities for brands to reclaim the garment’s roots—albeit with more sustainable processes and practices.
This Spring/Summer 2023 In Season look book made possible with the support of Cotton Incorporated will help arm designers with the fabric, trims and trend insight they need to know to successfully navigate this exciting time.
Within the S/S 2023 In Season look book, viewers will gain insight into:
- The fabric constructions, weights and washes mills are developing to tap into the demand for loose-fitting and vintage-looking jeans
- How mills are revolutionizing the indigo dyeing process to produce cleaner and more sustainable results
- The steps global denim mills are taking to reduce their impact on climate change
- Cotton Incorporated’s forecast for fabric colors and textures
- How trims companies are designing evergreen and circular products to help reduce the industry’s waste problem
Click here to view the look book.