Blue Jean Blues: Leisure Wear Is Taking Over


YOU WOULDN’T know it from Instagram and the hundred of thousands of denim cutoff hashtags, but it looks like denim is going the way of reading.  

According to a recent article by NBC, denim is in danger, and not because ladies and Burners have taken their shears to too many pairs. Last year, domestic sales of jeans dipped 6 percent, and big name companies such as Levi Strauss & Co, are struggling. Due to falling sales, they’ve been forced to cut jobs in order to save money.

“A 6 percent drop may not seem like much, but it’s rare for denim to take such a dramatic drop,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst of the NPD Group, a market research company.

Research officers at Telsey Advisory Group attribute part of the decline in denim sales to the fact that denim is no longer considered an “it” item. While still popular, there’s a new style of fashion that is quickly growing by leaps and bounds: athleisure wear. Everything from leggings and yoga wear to comfier and stretchier tops, clothes with a more athletic and comfortable feel to them are becoming the daily staple in people’s wardrobes and daily lives.

Recent surveys of teenage girls and the trends they follow also show the same movement: young girls and women are spending more money on brands like Lululemon and straying away from denim-heavy brands like Levis and Guess. Leggings have replaced jeans as the top fashion trend for the past two seasons, while denim has fallen behind to its lack of innovation and newness.

VF Corp, the maker of Wrangler and Lee brand jeans, is in talks to open a “global denim innovation center,” and various jeans companies are looking to diversify their products in order to stay up to trend with their customers. Joe’s Jeans is in the process of introducing several non-denim programs for this fall season in order to include leggings made with different fabrics and textiles.

Larger companies like the Gap, who also own a sportswear retailer Athleta, aren’t afraid of losing denim. Brand spokeswoman Edie Kissko considers denim to still be one of the dominant categories at Gap and Old Navy, but Cohen from NPD Group doesn’t share her sentiments.

“Trends today don’t come and go, they come and linger,” he told NBC News. “So if the consumer has migrated away from denim, it’s going to be very hard to win them back.”

What’s your take on denim? Are you still holding onto your jeans for dear life, or have you joined the masses and find yourself spending more time in athletic wear? I still like my denim here and there, but I would have to say that I’m exactly in the middle: jeggings are the way to go for me. The denim look with a more comfortable feel? Perfection.


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