Skinny jeans are out and wide legs are in. The denim industry is witnessing an evolution in consumer tastes after a year of working from home, as people now prioritize comfort.
Over the past few years, denim has been used as an expression of artistic forms of fashion, with statement elements such as patchwork and experimental silhouettes becoming increasingly popular. We had also been seeing a surplus of high-waists and form-fitted legs, which is a stark contrast to new denim collections for 2021.
Denim has returned back down to earth, with straight fits and earthy tones taking a front seat to the playful designs of yesteryear.
“Nowadays I feel people are looking for something more easy to wear and easy to style,” denim designer Ksenia Schnaider told FashionUnited. Her response to new denim trends is her label’s “Wader” jean, a cut that references the look of wading boots. Schanider explained, “Being both baggy and fitted on the hips, it offers everything you need from a pair of jeans - style, comfort and a flattering look.”
Denim designers adapt to new consumer interests
DL 1961 has delved into luxe athleisure as its consumer base has transitioned into work-from-home lifestyles. The denim brand has explored various fabrics, such as premium French terry, to provide both tailored fits and comfort.
“For Fall ‘21, we noticed a shift in the market leaning towards more comfortable denim, especially with people working from home more,” DL 1961’s chief operating officer, Sarah Ahmed, told FashionUnited. She explained that the label’s new denim lines are centered around straight fits and easy wear, with a fall color palette that includes earth tones, multiple shades of green and brown, light washes, and monochromatic greys and blacks.
Yet trends continue to take inspiration from retro styles.
“I would say the most prominent trend is finding the perfect middle ground between comfort and style. Silhouettes are pushing away from being skin-tight and restrictive. Looser fits that pay homage to the 90s have been more in the foreground,” James Oh, denim designer from Warp + Weft, added.
A year ago, denim trends were looking to the 1970s and 80s as far as tapered silhouettes and a slow return to bootcut legs. Oh believes these trends are still prominent, having matured into 2021 to meet the demand of comfort.
“Ideas that were short-lived due to COVID in 2020 are reimagined with the hope of re-experiencing a healthy social life in 2021, thanks to the developments regarding the vaccine,” he commented. “The trends are accommodating to fit the need of style with the preference of comfort.”