Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Skinny on Skinny Jeans

So the verdict is in. The WWD is reporting what I have been observing and posting about for some time: skinny jeans are leading the trend, particularly in women's fashion. On the retail (specialty boutiques) side WWD's interviews conclude that the clean, skinny jeans in black and grey washes are moving the quickest while the ultra distressed look that was so popular just last season seems to be stuck in sand. This is of course great news for denim makers since processing distress naturally increases costs. Skinnier cuts also require less fabric. By selling a clean looking pair of jeans for the same price points more dollars can go into design, fabric, marketing, and of course margin.

But note that these observations are predictions of a trend that may turn out to be a fad that won't even last a season (which I doubt is the case). Mainstream retailers note that their customers are taking their time getting used to tighter garments. When the skinny jean reaches critical mass I predict that the boutique crowd will react by pushing a different trend. My question is can everyone pull off the skinny? I think not...

Some key quotes:

"Ripped and distressed is completely done. Women want a clean going-out jean." Megan Johnson, owner of NYC boutique Addict.

"Embellishment is over. It is definitely out." -Jane Arrendale Sims, co-owner of Atlanta denim boutique Blue Genes.

"The overwhelming aesthetic is dark, clean, and basic." Brian Kaneda, denim buyer for Ron Herman's California stores.

"If they do something cute on a pocket, it'll still sell. But that is as far as the embellishment can go. If [the customers] like a detail, it's more subtle." -Melissa Murdock, owner of Sandpiper in Atlanta.

WWD Article (Subscription Required)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Earnest Sewn Cloak

How do you make jeans that combine art with science? You put Cloak's Alexandre Plokhov and Earnest Sewn's Scott Morrison in the same room, that's how. The two are collaborating on a series of projects that will--I expect-- marry Cloak's poetic cuts with ES's meticulous fit.

This fall you'll find two men's jeans from Cloak produced by ES (tech design, marking, grading, make, wash).

But that won't keep us half satiated until Spring '07 when two will drop a limited edition line of denim and ready-to-wear to be sold in the ES concept store, An Earnest Cut & Sew. This collabo will probably be under a currently undetermined co-label. Perhaps Cloak and Cut?

Cloak Home
Earnest Sewn Home

Friday, March 24, 2006

Earnest Sewn T-Shirts

Earnest Sewn, one of my favorite jeans label, will begin offering vintage inspired T-shirts this fall. According to their press release the name and feel of the tees will pay homage to New York City's Meatpacking District, where Earnest Sewn is currently based.

"The T-shirt graphic, ‘Bin No. 1’ is a reference to an underground speakeasy, common in the Meatpacking district during the prohibition era. ‘Old Kill road’ is the original name of Gansevoort street, a reference to the actual location of the Earnest sewn offices, and finally ‘Conkright & Sons’ was the Turpentine Distillery located in same building as Earnest Sewn’s concept/lifestyle store, ‘An Earnest Cut & Sew’ some 80-90 years ago."

You can get these print/non-print tees in stores beginning July for $62.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Skinny's In

I was looking around for the female perspective on skinny leg jeans and bumped into the NO GOOD FOR ME blog. I thought I'd link you to the post comparing boot and skinny legs and what the latter does for women.


Taverniti Fashion Week LA

Tapered legs seems to be the theme during Taverniti's show at this week's Fall '06 Fashion Week in LA. Photographs by Maria Ramirez for FWD.

I hope those things are stretch.


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Levi's Vaporwear

Remember when Levi's tried to build buzz around their RedWire(TM) DLX Jeans during MacWorld with a photoless press release? Well for anyone with enough attention span to still be following it: Terry Geiger the 17-year-old singer-songwriter from Pittsford has recently been named the spokesman for the iPod friendly jeans.

I'm all for having a face behind the campaign blah blah blah but I want to see the jeans. I hope this practice of announcing clothing before a picture/proto is ready does not become a trend.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Photo: Richard Kim, owner IGF with Johnson.

Accidental Discovery of Jeans

The LA Times has an article covering some of the basics of how a pair of jeans gets distressed in boutique wash houses. It also tells the story of how wash master David Johnson serendipitously developed the limited edition Dark Acid Wash for Taverniti's Janis line when he was working at International Garment Finishing.

LA Times Article

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Denimhead Looking Ahead

I'm working on a couple of things for us (interviews with interesting characters, review of Denim Design Lab's DIY kit, jeans sales listings, polls). In the meantime feel free to post any suggestions, hate mail, self-glorifying descriptions, etc.

And feast your eyes on some denim pr0n.

Morning Thoughts

Allow me to ramble for a minute as I'm breaking into my coffee. I'm sitting here in my one rinse Rag & Bone jeans, trying to wear the sucker in without wash to get the necessary wrinkles and indigo bleed for an authentic vintage look (it's tough).

Then I'm thinking Am I never going to buy industry washed jeans again?

Despite the growing popularity of distressed jeans that try to convey years of hard labor (in gold mines and stables, not cubicles) factory processes just can't get it to look authentic. The whiskers don't look 3D, the honey combs are in the wrong spots, exaggerated holes, etc. Something's always out of place.

With all that in mind, I pose the question: Is the vintage look really the holy grail of denim design? Look around and you'll see tons of jeans with amazing washes that may be inspired by the vintage look but do not come across as mimicking it (think Diesel* and various Japanese brands).

Don't get me wrong, I'll still try not to spill my coffee. But I'm also on the prowl for interesting washes.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Soaking Up the Denim

Wearable solar panels have always intrigued me as a great innovation. But the stuff these companies usually roll out are either not warmer weather friendly or major fashion faux pas.

Enter Bogner Jeans's latest project. Set to hit retail next year, this fashion friendly gear will charge iPods, laptops, cellphones, and other electronics we lug around. When you're not refueling the power is stored in the included battery for later use. This is being developed through a collaboration between the German fashion label, Bogner Jeans (license owned by Mustang), and the Solartex Project (funded by the regional state foundation of Baden-Württemberg through German's Ministry of Economic Affairs).

More info after CeBIT, the important technology trade show in Hanover.

Mustang Jeans
Bogner Jeans
Solartex Project

Monday, March 06, 2006

Sale Alert: The Art of Shopping (NYC)

For anyone who'll be in NYC the next two days- The Art of Shopping is having a designer denim sale for men and women. Find brands like 575 Denim, Joe’s Jeans, 7 For All Mankind, Citizens of Humanity, People’s Liberation, Antik Denim, Yanuk, James Jeans, True Religion, Ben Sherman, C&C California, T Luxurym. Haven't checked it out myself but items are 40-90% off.

72 Greene St (between Spring and Broome streets)
New York, NY 10012
(212) 501-4057

The Art of Shopping Website

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Blue Pencils for Green Earth

In an environmentally conscious world what do you do with scrap denim created as a by-product of making jeans? Turn them into pencils of course!

The Green Earth Office Supply (a Yahoo Store) is selling these good looking, eco-friendly pencils made from denim. If making a pair of jeans begins with the designer then those drawing up green jeans have gotta pick up a batch or two. $6/pack of 12.

Green Earth Office Supply

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Numbers and a Prediction

According to DNR, The NPD Group estimated that men's jeans sales in the US represented 9.4% of the $52.78 billion men's wear sales in 2005. Guys! that's a whopping $4.98 billion (approx.) worth of jeans we bought. While denim is still behind the pants/slacks category, which represented 9.8% (or $5.18B), the two are not far apart.

I predict that jeans will surpass pants/slacks when the sales numbers roll in for 2006. According to the NPD numbers, pants/slacks saw a 2.4% decrease while jeans saw a 6.9% increase in sales. This trend will only continue as more professionals, young and old, opt to circulate denim into their work attire and more offices in various industries begin accepting jeans.

I had previously given my thoughts on the changing role of denim here.