Retailers Really Want You to Buy Denim for Fall

If you feel like you're getting the hard sell on this wardrobe staple, you're not alone.
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Alyssa Vingan Klein
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If you feel like you're getting the hard sell on this wardrobe staple, you're not alone.
Photo: Madewell

Photo: Madewell

While denim is a year-round wardrobe staple, we always find ourselves shopping for a new pair (or five) of jeans as soon as autumn rolls around. Major retailers and publications have undoubtedly noticed our purchasing patterns: Not only did Glamour and Marie Claire feature celebrities wearing denim-on-denim looks on their August covers (Marie Claire even called August its "denim issue"), a number of our favorite brands are doing huge denim pushes for fall, involving overhauls of their websites and campaigns spanning print, web and social media.

The biggest campaign we've seen thus far is from Madewell, which is introducing a whopping 47 new styles for fall, and has launched a dedicated "denim bar" on its website to make shopping for jeans more seamless. There's also a social component: Customers are encouraged to use the hashtag #denimmadewell to share their denim looks with fellow fans of the brand, and Madewell's new site will publish the best of the uploads to a landing page. This feedback from shoppers is partly what inspired the Madewell team to relaunch and reimagine their denim a year ago. "No matter how many hours we pour over a pair in the studio the true test is always when it hits the streets," design director Somsack Sikhounmuong says. "Hearing feedback from women who have adopted our jeans as a staple in their wardrobe is proof that we have achieved what we set out to do."

'Marie Claire''s denim issue. Photo: Nina Frazier Hansen/Fashionista

'Marie Claire''s denim issue. Photo: Nina Frazier Hansen/Fashionista

Another denim brand that's betting on social media marketing is Calvin Klein Jeans. For its fall campaign — which stars Lara Stone wearing relaxed denim and not much else — the label included the hashtag #mycalvins in hopes that shoppers would share images of wearing the iconic CK Jeans product over social media. This strategy also plays to good old '90s nostalgia, as the original CK brand image was primarily denim-based. Speaking of nostalgia, Levi's is relaunching its classic "Live in Levi's" campaign just in time for fall shopping, and to celebrate, the brand is holding a free concert in NYC — featuring Haim and Sleigh Bells — that only requires that showgoers wear a piece of Levi's denim to gain entry.

There's plentiful evidence of this denim push in our inboxes and on the streets of NYC as well. Increased signage dedicated to denim is everywhere we turn — J.Crew and Gap have both taken part — and jeans-focused e-mail blasts are becoming more and more frequent. There are also a number of denim collaborations on the docket for fall: Liberty Ross has created a capsule collection for Genetic, photographers Inez & Vinoodh have designed a range for Frame and Alexa Chung (a previous Madewell collaborator) has signed on to design a '70s-inspired line for AG Jeans this winter

Whether it's because consumers are shopping smarter, retro-inspired silhouettes are making a huge comeback (read: mom jeans), or more casual items — like activewear and sweatshirt dressing — are taking over the current trends, denim seems to be a huge focus for labels at all price points for the coming season. So, if you want an easy, on-trend way to update your autumn wardrobe without spending a lot of cash, keep your eyes peeled on social media and your email inbox — the pair of your dreams will likely pop up sooner or later.