Gary Lenett is focused on creating the “best pants in the world.”
Denim is in the genetic makeup of Duer Denim co-founder Gary Lenett.
Though he had a career as a teacher and a lawyer, Lenett ultimately followed in the footsteps of his father, who was an entrepreneur and denim supplier. Lenett took over the family business and went on to manufacture and design denim for Levi’s, Nordstrom, Lee, Wrangler, Gap and more.
With Duer, Lenett now focuses on creating the “best pants in the world” and bringing performance denim to the fore. With versatile stretch styles that provide consumers comfort, odor control and temperature regulating properties, the brand has a pulse on what active denim consumers want from their jeans.
In 2020, Lenett also challenged the industry’s waste problem with Next by Duer, a new pre-sale method that allows the brand to only move prototypes into production that have a high level of interest from consumers.
What will the denim industry be like in the next 18 months?
The denim industry is not monolithic which makes it hard to speak to the denim industry in general. That said, my experience over the years has taught me that boutique denim brands are somewhat recession proof. If there's a jean brand or fit that you love that fits you perfectly, there’s a good chance you’ll prioritize your spending to be able to buy it. It may be the last bastion of loyalty.
What change would you like to see in the denim industry as a result of Covid-19?
Creating speculative inventory and then spending money to market it, has always been inefficient and wasteful. The Covid-19 climate has been a catalyst for rapid evolution. Implementing solutions to cut inventory waste through pre-sales and crowdfunding models are finally being addressed because businesses can't afford not to. As is true in any great shift, opportunities to innovate come out of chaos.
How do you define sustainability in a post-pandemic world?
I talk about operating as a responsible business with a macro perspective to encourage the world at large to consume less. I feel strongly that in terms of our collective impact on the planet, the single most important thing we can do is purchase a few well-made pieces that we wear consistently. This philosophy of doing more with less is driven by my hope we'll move away from fast fashion once and for all and towards investing only in quality pieces that are long lasting.
Describe your dream jeans.
My dream jeans allow me to go through everything I do in a day without changing my pants, whether that be riding my bike, going to the office or a nice restaurant. I may change my shoes or add a jacket but my ideal jeans work for all occasions. In fact, I created Duer just as an excuse to make a pair of jeans that could do all of this.
What is your most worn pair of jeans, and why?
I remember being a kid and needing to get my mother to wash my new jeans four or five times to soften them up before I wore them. In those days, denim was sold rigid and stiff and it was up to the consumer to break them down and make them comfortable. Some people still like jeans like this but not me. My most worn pair of jeans are my Duers because they are stretchy and comfortable from the start. I don’t want to work hard at my clothing. I’d rather keep it simple, get dressed, and get on to the more important things in life.
Name one word that best describes denim.