Denim is always in demand. Being a versatile fabric, denim can be manufactured into a variety of different garments. However, despite the singularity of the fabric, fashion designers can work with it in different washes, textures, and colors. If you’re unsure about how to build your denim line, don’t worry! Read on for tips on trend forecasting for your denim designs, denim-specific fabric considerations, and more.
Research on Your Market & How it Responds to Denim Trends
Denim products are always popular, but denim trends change frequently. Base your design trend forecast on research of past and present denim trends. Build a solid understanding of the product style evolution and gain inspiration for your designs.
It’s a good idea to start your design forecast research by narrowing your market segment and deciding which products your line will carry. Then, do your research on which denim fabrics and styles are in demand for your market. This can vary significantly for different age groups and genders. Decide which washes, textures, colors, zippers, and embellishments will make up your line, and decide how thick you want your denim fabric to be. For jeans, shoes, and jackets, we recommend using denim fabric that is around 12-14 ounces per square yard. For shirts, blouses, and denim accessories, we recommend using lighter denim fabric that weighs around 10-14 ounces per square yard.
Understand the Denim Production Price Tag
Denim fabric production begins with cotton cultivation. Fabric producers take cotton fibers from cotton plants and brush them into thin strings, then spin them into thick yarn. They then dye and treat the yarn and weave it into denim fabric.
Unsurprisingly, denim is costly to produce. True Religion jeans, for instance, cost around $50 per pair to produce. Consumers seek high-quality denim products, so it’s okay for designers and brands to price them higher than apparel produced in other fabrics. If your denim line sells jeans for less than $100, especially as low as $20, consumers will be more suspicious than attracted.
Consider manufacturing your line in countries that produce high-quality, long lasting apparel, like Italy, as opposed to countries with problematic workers' rights issues, like Bangladesh, where it only costs around $4.45 to produce a pair of low-quality jeans. For denim products, the majority of consumers seek quality over cheap prices.
Plan Your Product Specs and Create Your Tech Pack
Consider what specific types of apparel you will produce in denim. We recommend focusing on one or two types of apparel when starting out. This will help you focus on creating unique designs catered and adhere to standards of quality manufacturing.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when designing your denim product specs:
How much stretch and durability do you want your apparel to have?
How heavy or thick should the denim feel?
What washes, textures, or colors will satisfy your line’s look?
Here are some of the most popular forms of denim and how fashion designers tend to work them into their apparel tech packs and end products:
Raw Denim: If you’re seeking the original denim look, raw denim fabric is the best choice. It has not been treated or washed, giving it the authentic blue denim look. This type of denim is commonly seen in jackets and jeans.
Selvedge Denim: One of the strongest types of denim, selvedge denim is very durable and doesn’t easily unravel. With fringe and clean edges, this type of denim is most commonly used for jackets, but it’s also popular in jeans.
Stretch Denim: If you’re looking for a stretchy and form-fitting type of denim, stretch denim is the way to go. Made with a spandex fiber on-top-of normal Lycra, stretch denim is much stretchier than raw denim by nearly 30-60%. It’s most commonly used for skinny jeans.
Poly Denim: While not truly authentic denim, poly denim fabric is produced with a mixture of polyester, cotton, and nylon, and other fibers. This type of denim is very soft and comfortable. It’s most commonly used for jackets, shoes, and jeans.
Acid Wash Denim: This type of denim is treated by being washed in acid that slowly eats away at the dark blue dye, giving it a stippled appearance. It’s most commonly seen in jeans and jackets.
Crushed Denim: If you’re looking for a more casual look and feel, consider crushed denim fabric for your apparel. Made with a velvet-like weave, it’s extremely comfortable, stretchy, and durable. It is most commonly used for jeans and jackets.
Sanforized Denim: Sanforized denim is one of the softest types of denim fabric, making it a popular choice for jeans. However, while it has softness and stretch, it lacks the durability of other denim fabrics.
Use your tech pack to detail your fabric selections and product features for your manufacturer. If you need guidance with the denim fabric selection process, reach out to your manufacturer for recommendations.
Bring Your Denim Line to Your Customers
After designing and manufacturing your denim products, you’re ready to bring it to market. Landing your line in stores may seem daunting as an emerging designer, but through effective marketing and networking you can reach a lot of customers through direct to consumer sales.
Always be on the lookout for opportunities to expand your line and be consistent in creating and selling your products. When starting off, the most common ways to gain more exposure are reaching out to social media influencers to wear your line or advertising through social media. As you develop more products over time, consider building recognizable style features into your denim products to help them stand out from competitors’ designs. This could be anything from unique zippers or pocket designs to jeans and jackets with no pockets. Build your own unique brand, but be willing to flex with the evolution of your market’s preferred fashion trends.
Amulya Agrawal is a student from Missouri who is passionate about writing and creating creative content. She is currently a Content Marketing Intern for MakersValley and hopes to inspire designers with her content. In her free time, she enjoys reading, traveling, and advocating in her community.