The past year has been neither the best nor worst of times in the denim world. Fashion week runways saw a surge of creative new denim looks, customers returned to physical stores plus more sustainable and traceable practices and products were introduced on what seemed like a daily basis.
However, despite those advances plus many others, 2022 was not always smooth sailing for the industry. Problems such as excess inventory plagued many a brand or retailer and unprecedented energy-cost hikes threatened to put some fabric mills out of business, to name just two of several difficulties that aggravated an already difficult business environment.
So what will the new year bring?
Ebru Ozaydin, strategic marketing director of jeans, wovens and ready-to-wear at The Lycra Company , believes creative practicality plus industrywide cooperation will be needed to thrive in 2023.
“The business currently has already been facing many challenges such as overproduction, excessive capacities, environmental concerns, high energy costs, greenwashing and labor force shortages. Learning in order to generate solutions by doing more with less and in the collaborative manner will be paramount, ” she said.
One thing is for certain, though. As with every year, 2023 will force the denim world to continue in order to evolve with the times and be as innovative as possible.
Here, international jeans insiders share their thoughts about 2022 and what they expect to encounter in 2023.
How did the denim market fare in 2022 compared to 2021?
Daniel Carman, principal, Over The Rainbow store in Toronto, Canada: As the casualization of the world and the workspace continues to accelerate post-pandemic, the denim industry offers continued to soar during 2022. More people, especially women, are incorporating jeans into the particular wardrobe inside the most creative ways. Over the Rainbow has always approached denim as a staple in people’s everyday wardrobe and this mantra is becoming more widely accepted by existing and new clients.
Anatt Finkler, innovative director, Global Denim: The denim sector as well as retail, in general, saw growth plus high demand in their recovery from Covid-19 all through 2022 in comparison in order to 2021. Nevertheless, the supply chain has been heavily disrupted, making nearshoring and localized production more important and more in demand. Prices hiked as the disruption from the provide chain continued and raw material prices continued to increase but demand on the industry increased as well making sales grow. In these last months associated with 2022, since the fear of a recession and high inflation comes to a head, we are seeing natural material costs balance and lower, plus demand decrease to avoid having higher inventories.
Adriano Goldschmied, founder, Genious Group and the newly revived denim line Daily Blue: Slowly we already been on the particular way of getting out associated with Covid. For sure there was an enthusiasm about going back to “normal. ” Business was moving well including for bodily stores.
Sebastian Klinder, managing movie director, Munich Fabric Start plus Bluezone: It seems like the jeans industry stands surprisingly steady throughout the recent international geopolitical issues considering the fact that there have already been a number of global crises in the past years. The industry somehow learned how to react to that. On one hand, the high-street market slowed down which led to manufacturers and mills being affected. On the other hand, there have been enough innovative ideas, circular projects and cradle to cradle concepts broadening the niche markets, which seem in order to be booming and are usually not impacted by any type of crises.
Shannon Mercer, CEO, FibreTrace: As a traceability leader in the particular denim category, FibreTrace can attest to the leaps denim manufacturers plus brands possess made in pursuit of traceable and transparent practice over the particular past year, building around the previous period.
Ebru Ozaydin, tactical marketing director of jeans, wovens plus ready-to-wear, The particular Lycra Company: 2022 was a year that the pandemic had been slightly losing its impact and the consumer was hungry to get outside, visit stores and buy new clothing which resulted in consumer behavior called “revenge shopping. ” The brands and retailers had been experiencing a high amount of demand—also thanks to the rise of online shopping—and some were challenged using the changing supply chain dynamics and longer lead occasions driven simply by availability, logistics, labor pressure, etc .
Therefore , 2022 was a lot more of a year of recuperation of what was lost. It was a successful year for many companies with good business results, even resulting in expansion plus new investments.
However , the imbalance between overproduction and weakening of customer buying (also consumer confidence) due in order to the rising cost associated with living and inflation has had a ripple effect within the denim value chain, leading to idle capacity, unsold inventory, increased prices due to raw materials, ongoing logistics challenges and rising energy costs. Even if the first half of the particular year was obviously a success, the last six months were extremely challenging with regard to many players across the industry.
Brandon Svarc, founder/designer, Naked & Famous: I can’t speak regarding anybody else, but store has been good for us. With fewer restrictions plus increased tourism we’re seeing our shops full of people from all over the particular world.
Kattya Torres, founder, Jeans Surgeon, a specialist in denim repair and jeans alteration based inside New York: It’s heading in a positive direction. With new products and people slowly emerging from their pandemic cocoons we’re eager intended for “new plus refreshing, ” while still wanting the comforts of familiarity. Denim isn’t going anywhere yet up.
What was the highlight (or low point) for that jeans industry inside 2022?
DC: The return of looser silhouettes combined with more rugged, much less stretch-infused denim fabrics has been a nice change from the skinny elastic jeans leggings that will reigned supreme over the particular denim market over the last decade. People even now appreciate comfort, and certainly the slim jean still has its purpose, but consumers are approaching comfort in different ways beyond needing fabrics to cling to their skin comfortably.
AF: The particular use associated with new materials was a great highlight in the industry in 2022 as has been the search for more circular and lasting alternatives. As cotton costs hiked inside 2022, we saw many different options and alternatives to it and mixes in constructions that I am hoping will continue. Also, a highlight was the diversity of styles and trends that all of us saw rise in this year due in order to the comeback from Covid-19 and the sentiment individuals wanted to express through their own denim plus clothing.
AG: A strong acceleration in the particular direction of circular fashion and consequently the good time for re-use. The recycling industry will be strongly taking off.
SK: 2022 showed that denim is still an iconic product. This year brought a lot more newness, better products, wiser designing, environmentally friendly approaches such as indigo dyeing alternatives or the use associated with eco-friendly materials with hemp or linen blended within. We noticed concrete tasks and synergies between upcoming brands and suppliers. Furthermore, nearshoring seemed to gain more significance. A lower point is usually definitely the little awareness of the particular consumers when it comes to circularity problems. We need to take more effort on educational aspects.
SM: I surely appreciated the return to in-person conferences where, for your denim business, comradery plus collaboration is seen in spades.
EO: “Value”…for the consumer and the maker.
The consumer is starting to prioritize the value of the product from the design process to end-of-life. They look for authenticity, better clarification of the product’s value in order to justify the particular investment, the materials used, how eco friendly it is, what impact it has on the planet, the resources and even who makes their clothes. The customer is beginning to spend even more time within the product’s journey, asking to get transparency and opting for much better alternatives…Shopping is now a good act of “taking responsibility, ” to ensure money is definitely well-spent for a high quality, long-lasting, ecological and low-impact product to be kept in the particular wardrobe pertaining to a longer period associated with time. That is part of the reason why the resale market can be booming.
The maker is realizing the worth of branded raw materials; the rigorous research meant for innovating a product in order to transform the value for the better consumer experience. The denim industry has always been ahead of other product categories when this comes to investing in sustainable solutions, plus this 12 months, we have seen more solutions through fiber in order to garment level.
We are proud to offer Coolmax and Thermolite fiber technologies made from 100 percent textile waste or recycled PET bottles to support the lasting design associated with denim while well as Lycra T400 EcoMade fiber which has 68 percent recycled content. This is one of the main ingredients of Lycra dualFX technology, along with Lycra EcoMade fiber.
We also announced our collaboration along with Qore LLC to use qira designed for the next generation bio-derived Lycra fiber in scale which will result in 70 percent from the Lycra fiber content being derived from annually renewable feedstock.
BS: That’s a tough question…I did see some brands trying to pawn off NFTs instead of selling actual jeans. Like a jeans maker I find that to be a low point of our industry.
KT: I’m happy to see more people coming back into the city [of New York] as in comparison to 2021.
How will the global economy affect the denim industry within 2023?
DC: People will be more mindful of how they spend their money and will be a lot more selective about what stores these people choose in order to support and what brands they believe offer the most value for their investment. The supply chain will continue to be unpredictable. It will certainly be interesting to see which businesses have the best control over their particular manufacturing. Shipping and transportation of items will also be a major challenge.
AF: This is yet in order to be seen; it will carry on to grow as retail and need from the particular consumer continues, but because the fear of recession hits, we may see the year more cautious behavior in terms of purchases from your consumer plus from manufacturers.
AG: For sure our business will be affected with a global reduction associated with volume. As times are uncertain the industry will go to the short-term vision. Unfortunately, this particular will affect the investments in technology that are the real engine just for sustainability and circularity.
SK: Predictions from world research agencies point out that will the 1st [quarter] will be critical. Only brands that understand new business models that need them to become more resilient and well prepared may successfully go through this period. 2023 can experience the increasing gap between the high- and low-price segment plus budget difficulties in our own society: consumers seem to reflect positively upon buying products with added value. These shifts can help the particular up-market and create more challenges for the value marketplace.
SM: Jeans isn’t heading anywhere. But, as customer values change, the way they shop is changing too. Whether it’s a personal style, financial, environmental or trend-driven decision, Gen Z is certainly seeing the particular appeal inside shopping jeans (and some other categories) vintage and secondhand.
The success of resale start-ups like The particular RealReal and Depop offers been recognized by brands who are now entering the space with their own resale initiatives—from luxury plus high-end brand names to fast fashion giants, this is a market to watch.
For any of these programs to become successful and believed by consumers, however , traceability needs to be at the forefront associated with these types of initiatives.
EO: One of the challenges will be to gain consumer confidence. People will end up being cautious about spending money on fashion. Shrinking budgets will result in new buying patterns plus the trend will be “consuming smartly/responsibly” with a frugal mindset.
BS: We think it depends on where you are at in the market. Premium brands with prices to match have customers that are less affected by the rough economy; I think they’ll be fine. On the mass market side of things, I believe a few brands may struggle to keep prices low especially with the increased costs of raw components and freight.
KT: We’ll see a rise in customers looking to extend the life associated with their closet with repairs as good as a within more classic clothing bought at local thrift shops.
What would you like to see more in 2023?
DC: Creative, innovative products and experiences. Real sustainable garments. More support of independent boutique retailers who set the styles rather than following them. More patience for humanity and much more respect for individual perspectives.
AF: I actually would love to see even more circular and sustainable fibers get into the mix. Not just within capsule collections from brands, but rather as an expense to transform the economic climate and the particular industry.
AG: The better understanding about true values that will promote durability, quality and a better life for all. More, a lot more and more is not the right answer for the particular planet.
SK: Sustainability and innovation are key—so hopefully 2023 is going to be about more dedication to responsible and conscious products. Under the motto “Discovery, ” the denim trade show Bluezone in January will bring together the industry to show smart designs in wearability and circularity, diversity within denim fabrications, nearshoring which usually can bring balance in order to local economies and advanced automation plus digital management. Last yet not least, a more eco-friendly buying behavior is desirable. That includes consumers who care about environmentally friendly products while they’re buying as much as they will like to communicate these topics to their friends and followers.
SM: I am always impressed to see exactly how the broader denim source chain fosters innovation in an industry that, despite the love for the traditional, is enthusiastic to push boundaries.
EO: Despite almost all, we still need in order to invest in and value innovation and keep on to offer solutions to consumers through the lens of brand new lifestyles plus new needs. Transparency is usually the key to keeping the customer part of the process, since better knowing will allow all of us to use the resources more efficiently and effectively. So I would like to observe more environmentally friendly solutions, products and services. The market needs to assistance each other, collaborate more and try to find solutions to overcome all the problems we have been facing.
BULL CRAP: More people wearing raw denim of course.
KT: We would love in order to see more unique jeans pieces in 2023—pieces along with hardware, embellishments, one-of-a-kind stitching, you name it. We love that will denim may always enter new territory with each era associated with fashion plus manage to stay both timeless and innovative.
What would you like to notice less in 2023?
DC: I’d like to see the particular demise of fast style and much less judgement associated with people plus their opinions on important issues due to lack of understanding.
AF: I would love to see less ephemeral developments arise or even come back. I would love to discover design thinking blend in to product making, where we all design for the purpose of longevity and circularity. This will ultimately lead to more mindful consumption and more mindfulness around how we wear clothes and much more investment decision in new, better materials.
AG: Less Black Friday. A green Friday should be every week….
SK: Less greenwashing , less unconscious consumerism plus less low-quality denim. The denim sector has observed all of that since its establishment and it can definitely help societies to improve their living—the industry should take these opportunities.
SM: I can appreciate any brand’s commitment to “sustainable” practice, but I hope to find out less unsubstantiated claims in 2023. Greenwashing—and this is speaking beyond denim—is taking the power from companies with genuine claims to positive impact and undermining the particular intelligence of the consumer plus investor.
It is in the industry’s greatest interest that we just about all act along with accountability. Soon enough, supply chain due diligence will be the new standard. The particular time in order to act will be now.
EO: Players in the particular industry that do not commit to transforming for a better, healthier future.
KT: Because a full-service tailor shop specializing within denim, we’d like to find less denim getting tossed or unnecessarily donated when there’s the option for having your well-loved denim repaired, altered for any best fit, repurposed or upcycled.