Now that fall weather has finally hit most of the country, children are officially switching out their summer shorts and tees for other options as they head to school each day. And while they may be giving their parents grief every morning over exactly which outfit they’ll agree to wear, plenty of kids will be including denim in their mix.

"Denim lasts forever. Even if you know your kids will grow out of it, you want it to last while it still fits."

-Miki Racine Berardelli,
CEO, Kidbox

“From what we see, denim is definitely a popular item for parents of school-age kids,” said Kidbox CEO Miki Racine Berardelli at last week’s Fashion Tech Forum (FTF), held at the Duggal Greenhouse in Brooklyn, NY. Kidbox is a children’s subscription apparel service that started last spring. During the FTF event, a group of children that were a part of the company’s promotion were dressed head-to-toe in denim.

“In our style profile, we ask parents and children different questions, from colors they like to if they’re sporty or dressy. And we ask if they want denim to be part of their box. And people always check it off,” Berardelli says. “We sell jeans, jean jackets, skirts, shirts, overalls. They like it for the style and that it’s rugged. Denim lasts forever. Even if you know your kids will grow out of it, you want it to last while it still fits.”

Market Watch expected families with kids ranging from kindergarten through 12th grade to have spent $27.3 billion this past Back-to-School season. Of course, kids don’t live in denim alone. Boys also gravitate toward joggers and sweatpants, while girls’ choices include leggings, dresses, and yoga pants. In its semi-annual teen survey, Piper Jaffray found the top brands among teens are Nike (29 percent), American Eagle (9 percent), Forever 21 (5 percent), Ralph Lauren (4 percent), and Urban Outfitters (3 percent).

Still, as the NPD Group’s Marshal chief industry analyst, told Market Watch, denim is a perennial BTS favorite even if the styles haven’t changed much, because kids so often outgrow it and need to replenish.

On average, consumers in general own about nine denim garments, six of which are denim jeans, according to the Cotton Incorporated Lifestyle Monitor™ Survey. And Gen Z shoppers (those aged 13-to-16) are acquiring their fair share: on average Gen Z kids own about eight denim garments, five of them being jeans.

 

Denim Still A Perennial Favorite Among Parents

 

While the majority of consumers (53%) say they love or enjoy wearing denim, affinity is higher with parents than with their kids, according to Monitor™ data. Among Boomers and Gen X shoppers, 60 percent “love or enjoy” wearing denim. But that figure drops to 32 percent among Gen Z’s 13-16-year-olds. In fact, the majority of Gen Z consumers (51 percent) say they don’t wear much denim.

But that may be changing: a note from investment banking analyst Piper Jaffray shows denim brands “saw an uptick to 19 percent aggregated mindshare and showed up as a top trend among upper-income females for the second consecutive survey.”

Kidbox personalizes apparel boxes for children ages 2 to 14 years old. After the boxes arrive in the mail, parents have one week to decide if they want to keep the clothes or not. Each box contains 6-to-7 items with premier brands.

“We have great names like Diesel, Lucky, Paper Denim & Cloth, and Seven for All Mankind that are part of our assortment to provide kids with great denim product,” said Kidbox founder Haim Dabah. Each Kidbox costs $98. If parents keep the whole box, they receive the value pricing. If they send some items back, they pay à la carte for those pieces they keep. The boxes arrive five times a year.

On average, consumers spend about $73 on apparel each month. Gen Z shoppers average out to about $54. That compares with $83 for Gen Y and $90 for Gen X consumers.

Besides denim being a go-to item for Back-to-School, Piper Jaffray adds that an uptick in sales might be due to some newness that’s happening in the jeanswear category.

“Innovation in denim fabric could convince folks to get out of their yoga pants, thus driving traffic back to the mall,” the company stated in a note, adding that comfort and flexibility are key denim trends.

A fifth (20 percent) of Gen Z shoppers purchase most of their apparel at mass merchants, followed by department stores (15 percent), chains and fast-fashion stores (14 percent), and specialty stores (12 percent), Monitor™ data shows.

Kids may very well be looking to increase their denim wardrobes next spring, if New York Fashion Week has anything to do with it.

Haddad Brands presented an entire fashion show during New York Fashion Week. While NYFW is normally full of attitude, air kisses, and unsmiling models and attendees, Haddad’s Rookie USA event showcased the kids of celebrities and sports stars, who strutted the stage to the whoops and cheers of their famous parents. Denim was featured in many of the spring/summer 2017 looks, as Haddad holds the global license for Levi’s children’s wear.

The Levi’s portion of the Rookie USA show included embellished denim overalls, jeans jackets with faux shearling collars, and fun throwback-style jeans with scribbles, smiley faces, and peace sign patches. Attendees also saw trendy jeans with fringed cuffs, men’s wear style denim shirts, pocketed denim dresses and skirts, as well as extremely ripped, torn and patched denim jeans. On-trend, yes. But just the look that might give pause to parents or, perhaps, their children’s teachers.