The first quarter of 2019 ended on a strong blue note.
Along with Levi’s marking its sixth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth, and Madewell’s smooth transition from J. Crew sister brand into billion-dollar lifestyle business, retail analysis firm Edited reported that denim items also topped the list of best-selling trends for Q1 in the U.S. market.
For denim, the quarter was buoyed by a wave of new workwear and unisex trends. From Nasty Gal’s denim jumpsuit with contrast top-stitching, to Acne’s voluminous linen one-piece, the amount of boiler suits at retail was up across all tiers of fashion. New arrivals of designer jumpsuits increased 560 percent, Edited reported, while the mass market saw a 890 percent increase from retailers like Topshop and Asos.
And the all-in-one, seasonless look is gaining momentum. Among the utilitarian looks trending on the street, fashion week goers pounded the pavement in Stella McCartney’s Spring ’19 blue-and-white tie-dye denim boiler suit. The silhouette was also prevalent on the Fall ’19 runway, interpreted as pit crew suits for men by designers Biuu and Daniel W. Fletcher.
Wider bottom silhouettes continued to trend as part of the macro shift toward ’90s-inspired utilitarian looks in Q1. Spurred on by designers like Stella McCartney and Maison Margiela, Edited reported that the luxury market gravitated toward white wide-leg jeans during the quarter.
However, opportunity lies ahead of mass brands. H&M and Levi’s invested in wide-cut jeans for men, but Edited urged more retailers to keep “relaxed fits in mind when planning your future denim assortments.” With luxury labels like Balenciaga, Off-White and Louis Vuitton—which saw its fashion and leather goods sales increase 20 percent in Q1—in streetwear mode for next fall, it’s clear that trendsetters are not quite ready to go back to tailoring.
Jean jackets filled the void for transitional outerwear. Men’s denim jackets in the mass market saw a 78 percent increase for Q1, making up 9 percent of new arrivals, Edited reported. Led by Balenciaga and Givenchy, the firm reported that dark denim washes proved popular in luxury, while classic trucker styles performed well in the mass market.
Streetwear accoutrements like luxury logo tees and joggers, bucket hats, hair scrunchies and chunky sneakers were also on fire during Q1. Edited reported that the majority of new sneaker arrivals during the quarter were tonal (white, black or gray), which either complemented the growing demand for neutral outerwear like trench coats, or contrasted another ‘It’ item for the quarter: neon fashion.
Other best-selling items hint to a post-streetwear world. “Customers responded positively to snake and croc footwear, something to continue running within fall assortments as the western/cowboy boot trend gains momentum,” Edited said.
Animal print midi skirts and slip dresses were “hot property” in Q1, as well as wrap dresses, which saw an 80 percent increase in new arrivals compared to the year prior. Edited pointed out that the flattering silhouette also saw success in the women’s plus category where Asos Curve and Boohoo Plus have heavily invested.