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Avery Faigen

June 27, 2022

Denim's Future Direction

A retailers' guide to building a successful denim range, backed by industry-leading data.

Propelled by the desire to return to normality after a year in sweats coupled with the allure of nostalgia, denim has never been more in demand.

This article uses EDITED data to help retailers build lucrative future collections based on successful Fall 2021 denim styles and trend direction from the Fall 2022 runway.

Read on for pricing insights, catwalk inspiration, plus the most coveted silhouettes and colors for men's and women's denim.

See how our game-changing data can empower your category today. Reach out for a free demo. 

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Key Takeaways

  • Focus on a more relaxed silhouette for womenswear. During Fall 2021, straight fit jeans made up 21% and 23% of newness, in the US and UK, respectively, and 24% of sold out styles in both regions.

  • Consider offering more form-fitting options for menswear as the portion of skinny and slim jeans that sold out during Fall 2021 outpaced newness in the US.

  • In the UK, lighter colors were sought after in womenswear, with neutrals landing the third most sold out color, up four percentage points (pp) compared to the US. Of the Fall 2021 assortment, 42% of neutral styles sold out, while only 31% and 28% of black and blue jeans sold out.

  • Across US menswear, there were 22% more black options than blue for Fall 2021 and black denim had a 24% higher sell out rate than blue, emphasizing the importance of black for this market.

  • For Fall 2022, price men’s and women’s jeans in the US at $40-$50, as 59% and 32% of Fall 2021 styles sold out in this price bucket.

  • Fall 2022 runway collections provided 00s updates like cargo pockets and bleached washes for womenswear, while baggier shapes in true blue washes are the future for menswear.

 

The Silhouettes

Fall 2021 Retail Data

Across womenswear, straight fit was the preferred denim option in both regions. During Fall 2021, straight leg jeans made up 21% and 23% of newness, in the US and UK, respectively, and 24% of sold out styles in both regions. Wide-leg and boot cut styles are exaggerated iterations of the straight fit, totaling 8% and 11% of Fall 2021 newness in the US and UK, respectively. These styles proved successful, making up a combined 21% of sold out pieces in both regions, emphasizing consumer desire for more relaxed fits.

denim trends

Across menswear Fall 2021 denim assortments, 46% of arrivals in the UK were slim fit, while skinny fit made up 45% of US newness. These styles also made up the highest portion of silhouettes that sold out in each region, highlighting consumer response to more form-fitting designs. Retailers in both regions landed more baggy styles in Fall 2021 and sold more of this design compared to wide leg and boot cut, bolstering the shape’s staying power.

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Fall 2022 Runway Direction

As already evidenced by Coachella festival-goers, the noughties are officially the next stop for denim ranges. Cargo pockets, distressing, low-rise cuts and micro mini skirts are bubbling up as key styles both on the street and the runway, cementing the era’s trends as vital for the coming season.

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Isabel Marant, Christian Siriano & Tibi Fall 2022 - Images via IMAXtree

Fall 2022 denim’s overarching theme saw fits continue to adopt relaxed and baggier shapes. Other details included the emergence of cargo pockets that exaggerate loose-fitting silhouettes, while subtle rips and distressing heighten casual options. Merchandise more relaxed silhouettes into grunge edits.

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EgonLab, Maison Mihara Yasuhiro & Isabel Marant Fall 2022 - Images via IMAXtree

 

The Colors

Fall 2021 Retail Data

In the US, keep collections dark as blacks, greys and navies totaled 35% of sold out styles. Consumers in the UK sought lighter options with neutrals the third most sold out color, up 4pp compared to the US where, of the Fall 2021 assortment, 42% of neutral styles sold out, while only 31% and 28% of black and blue jeans sold out, respectively. Greens, browns and whites accounted for a smaller proportion of sold out styles in both regions. However, these colors have remained in the top eight most popular denim colors from 2019 and 2020, emphasizing their staying power.

denim trends

Across US menswear, there were 22% more black arrivals than blue for Fall 2021 and black denim had a higher sell out rate than blue, up 24%, emphasizing the importance of black for this market. Consumers in both regions desired brown denim options, like straight fit cropped styles from Bershka to baggy fits at River Island. Despite only making up 5% of the sold out Fall 2021 denim offering in each region, brown denim had a sell out rate of 35% and 68% in the US and UK, respectively.

 denim trends

Fall 2022 Runway Direction

A wide range of denim shades were featured across collections, like 90s-inspired bleached washes at Vaquera to rich indigo at Carolina Herrera and Fendi. Etro and Acne Studio went bold with denim patchworks – mixing light and dark washes and joining various colored denim pieces to create a unique design.

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Vaquera, Fendi & Etro Fall 2022 - Images via IMAXtree

While bleach styles were still evident across Fall 2022 collections, indigo and true blue washes were favored. All-over branding and slogans were stamped on wide-leg denim pants, most notably at Vetements for standout looks. Subtler takes saw graphic prints placed on the elbows, knees and thighs.

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Bianca Saunders, Ami, Vetements, Fall 2022 - Images via IMAXtree

The Pricing

Fall 2021 Retail Data & Fall 2022 Direction

The majority of women’s jeans sold out at $40-$50 in the US, with Aritzia driving up the price. In the UK, almost half of the Fall 2021 women’s denim styles sold in the £20-£30 price bracket, with most other styles selling out at £30-£40. In menswear, the US and UK regions both sold the majority of Fall 2021 denim styles in the $40-$50/£40-£50 price range.

denim trends

For Fall 2022, price men’s and women’s jeans in the US at $40-$50, with 59% and 32% of Fall 2021 styles selling out in this price bucket. For womenswear in the UK, the key price range is £20-£30, with 47% of Fall 2021 styles selling out in this bracket, while 39% of menswear jeans sold out at £40-£50.

denim trends

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