The pandemic is creating a reckoning for jeans
- When it comes to staying at home, athleisure is king.
Jeanssales are seeing sharp declines along with the rest of the apparelmarket, according to The NPD Group's Maria Rugolo.
- But, it's still unlikely that jeans will go away altogether.
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"Jeans have the opportunity to play up the comfort factor, to play up the stretch that they have," Rugolo said. "These are the things that we're going to see help the category."Several denim-focused retailers — True Religion, Lucky Brand, and G-Star Raw — have already filed for bankruptcy since the pandemic began. Prolonged store closures and a shift towards casual clothing proved damaging for retailers primarily selling jeans. It's a poor turn of events for a category that has seen its ups and downs over the years, but that was seeing some growth before the pandemic. Jeans, especially low-priced denim and jeans for men, were doing pretty well in recent years.
Ayako Homma, consultant at Euromonitor International, said this growth was largely due to changing standards around what clothing could be considered office-appropriate.
"As dress codes throughout the country became increasingly casual, US consumers have increased the usage occasions for jeans," Homma said in emailed comments."Also, with athleisure solidified in the US market, consumers who had purchased sufficient athletic bottoms over the last few years returned to economy and standard jeans, as fabric and fit innovation helped to make these products attractive for casualwear."
But even though the pandemic has complicated this trend, Rugolo said that it may be too early to call this the death of jeans. Apparel as a whole is seeing large sales declines, while jeans that are meant for outdoors work are actually bucking the trend and showing some growth.
"Jeans are never going to go away. They've been a staple for over a hundred years," Rugolo said. "It's definitely something to learn from the pandemic as far as how to adapt to these elements of comfort that consumers are looking for."Plus, at a certain point, people might get tired of wearing leggings and pajamas all the time.
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