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HAS THERE EVER BEEN ANYTHING AS BIG, as important, as stylishly trendy as denim…?  Jeans, of course!  Not only are they mega-buck sellers here in the United States, but we have exported jeans (the concept if not the actual product) all over the world, and appetite for them is apparently unending.  In the 1950s jeans were big.  In the 1970s bigger.  In 2010, through the ceiling!  And so it goes.  Jeans sell, big time.

Jeans are not age-specific; they are all-age terrific. Where one pair was enough some years ago, now ten pair won’t quite make it. Designer jeans selling for hundreds of dollars fly off retail racks with amazing speed.  Designers are all into the big jeans market, too.  In some instances, jeans have taken over a good part of designer identity.  Does anyone have to ask what Oprah means when she refers to her “Calvins”?   

Back in the 60s, jeans were seen as so American, so capitalist-inspired, that Soviet Russia actually outlawed them. But did that stop their sales? Russia was faced with the problem of illegal smuggling of jeans to fill a suddenly explosive market fueled by the very law that was meant to erase them from the country. Levi Strauss was the big name and you could actually name your price for a pair of used Levis on the streets of Moscow. 

   –We tell this story because, while jeans have been legal for some time in the former Soviet Republic, the demand has yet to lessen, there or elsewhere.  Everybody loves them!

ACCESSORIZING JEANS CAN BE CHALLENGING AND FUN.  FOR SOME, YOU’RE LOOKING FOR WESTERN GEAR.  FOR OTHERS, YOU NEED GLITZ OR INTERNATIONAL SOPHISTICATION.  HERE IS WHERE YOU’LL FIND IT ALL: 

 

 

 

                                                                   New Frontier

 

 

SO…YOU’D THINK making jeans would be enough for any company.  You’d think a hot brand name like Parasuco, Rock & Republic, True Religion or Silver and Seven for All Mankind would never think of moving into another fashion category.  Ah…think again!  Big denim companies have their eye on the dollar, and as they see it, that’s not just in jeans, but in accessories.  As one major publication put it:

      

        “Accessories appear to be the new frontier for a spate of denim lines eager to increase their exposure.” 

 

Another denim manufacturer said: 

 

        “We’re jeans-centric.  And probably well over 50 percent of those wearing jeans have a belt on.”

Most jeans companies feel that branching out is integral to long term survival in a competitive field. Consequently, they’re looking at major activity in handbags, belts, jewelry, shoes, and even eyewear.  For no small number, the accessories launch has already begun.  Parusco, for example, has been into belts for men and women since 2008 and is expected to introduce a new line of handbags this fall.  The premium denim company, Joe’s Jeans, got into accessories in 2007 with a line of high-level handbags.  This spring, the firm introduced new collections of belts and shoes. 

                                                  Waiting for a Floodtide

Not all accessories lines at jeans companies are boasting sky-high sales right now, but that doesn’t seem to bother the jeans community.  Marc Grossman, CEO of Joe’s, says he expects it to take some time before accessories are meaningful to the firm’s bottom line, but as the firm grows its name in general, “Accessories are really important.”

And most firms figure the eventual floodtide of sales will be well worth any present wait.  Parasuco estimates accessories will account for 50% of its business within the next five years.  Some point to Guess as a good reason for such optimism. Guess got into watches in 1984, and eventually moved into handbags, eyewear, jewelry, belts, shoes and high end watches.  In fact, the company was so successful in accessories that it launched a bevy of freestanding accessory stores that now number 200, globally.

Guess CEO Paul Marciano is bullish all the way on accessories, asserting that retail sales for accessories are over $2 billion.  But, he cautions jeans firms eyeing this field:

     “Be sure you have good licensees. Making accessories and making jeans are two totally different things.”

 

YOU CAN SIGNIFICANTLY BOOST YOUR BOTTOM LINE RIGHT NOW BY LATCHING ONTO ACCESSORIES WITH A “JEANS” FRAME OF MIND.  HERE ARE SOME GOOD EXAMPLES:

 

 

 

 

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Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Friday, June 11th, 2010


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