America’s Western Clothing Craze Has Fueled Denim’s Stylish Comeback - The Average Joe


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    America’s Western Clothing Craze Has Fueled Denim’s Stylish Comeback

    Rhea Lobo

    July 4, 2024

    If you were an ‘80s or ‘90s kid who rocked denim, you knew it wasn’t just a piece of clothing — it was a lifestyle. While hand-me-downs used to be frowned upon in the 2000s (thanks, Regina George), denim is back in modern wardrobes as a vintage statement.

    Threads of change: Since the pandemic, a resurgence in Western styles has translated into increased interest and spending on denim, which became a preferred choice in American households as lifestyles leaned more towards comfort and versatility. Pop culture and high-profile endorsements from artists like Taylor Swift and Beyoncé are also fueling excitement for denim.

    • Google searches for denim clothing were up 35% last year — with Abercrombie & Fitch ($ANF), dubbed the “Nvidia of jeans,” seeing a 157% rise in searches so far this year.
    • In a Coresight survey, price was the leading factor for denim purchases, with 54.7% of consumers spending between $0 and $110 on denim in the last year.

    Retro Trends, Modern Profits

    Top designers like Gucci, Valentino, and Versace are incorporating denim and wider pant styles into their collections, boosting demand for denim-centric stocks like Old Navy ($GPS), Ralph Lauren ($RL), and Boot Barn ($BOOT), which are up 169%, 36%, and 50%, respectively, over the past year. And analysts think they might continue their run…

    • TD Cowen’s Oliver Chen believes denim is set to be a strong performer in the retail sector, stating, “We see the recent momentum in the denim category as sustainable in the near to medium term.”
    • The analyst is also bullish on Ralph Lauren and Levi Strauss ($LEVI), highlighting Ralph Lauren’s record-high financial metrics and Levi’s promising direct-to-consumer strategy.

    Timeless but out of style: The concept of “quiet luxury” is gaining traction in the denim industry, with brands like Levi’s and Gap focusing on timeless designs and clean finishes. However, this isn’t enough for denim to regain the market share it held before the pandemic due to the rise of athleisure. Coresight’s Sunny Zheng told Rivet, “Denim will be a staple, everyone needs a pair of jeans. But consumers are looking for new ideas… something different.”

    Read: Nineties Nostalgia and a Brand Overhaul Has Sent Abercrombie’s Stock Up Over 500%

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