ANY SELF-RESPECTING SHOPPER has come to terms with the fact that denim is a bit of a fair-weather friend. At first, it seems the world of jeans is a consumer’s
oyster—endless washes, sizes and weights just begging to be tried on. But in the light of the dressing room, it rebuffs its would-be owner in a tug-of-war that inevitably leads to a pile on the floor and the buyer in a red-faced huff.
Most of the industry’s suppliers have chosen to avoid this scene altogether, offering denim by way of button-down shirts, hats, aprons and the like. However, with the current move toward more fashion-forward initiatives for the promotional apparel segment, how much longer can the industry hold out? According to Jeff Comstock, marketing manager for Grand Rapids, Michigan-based One Stop, “Our sales history shows that the denim category is one that comes and goes, but never really leaves the industry.” So, is denim due for a redux in 2008, or is its stagnation simply a consequence of the industry’s status quo? The answer, of course, is anybody’s guess, but in the meantime, here’s a look at two possible directions for this fashion’s future.
THIS WAY: REDEFINE DENIM’S PLACE IN THE INDUSTRY
The retail market for jeans just keeps growing in terms of both the number of companies that have added a denim line, as well as the various designs available, but jeans have yet to find a niche as a promotional product. Comstock discussed an overwhelming reason for this: An item people are exceedingly fickle about can’t survive in an environment that relies on quick turnaround times and
well-stocked staples to move product.
“With jeans, there are so many sizes, fits and styles to take into account, that it would be close to impossible to narrow down what to have manufactured and keep in stock at any given time,” he explained.