Leggings and sweatpants, once thought exclusively to be for the gym, have now surpassed jeans as the pants of choice…at least for teens. Activewear now comprises 28% of teen apparel purchases, up from 6% in 2008. And "Athleisure" wear (an industry term for athletic wear that can be worn away from the gym) makes up 14.4% of purchases.
In a semi-annual study released this week by Piper Jaffray, teens ranked the top fashion trend as leggings/lululemon (LULU) and the top clothing brand as Nike (NKE). Denim, which typically ranks in the top 10 fashion trends, was nowhere to be found.
So is the end of the denim-teen revolution that was fueled by Levi’s in the 1950s? Perhaps. A middle school in Evanston, Illinois has banned leggings for girls because they were “too distracting to boys.” If you want a teen to start doing anything, tell them they’re not allowed to do it.
”When jeans first came on the scene it was scandalous,” says The Daily Ticker's Aaron Task. “Are leggings the new scandal?” Is there trouble right here in River City?
Levi’s Q1 profit has slid by 53% and Wrangler, Abercrombie & Fitch and American Eagle are also hurting.
In 2009 denim comprised 20.2% of teen apparel purchases and has declined nearly every year since. In the spring of 2014 denim sales made up only 12.7% of teen purchases.
“The hot retailers are going toward athletic wear," says Yahoo's Jeff Macke. "Keep your eye on Nike, it’s not that big of a dent for them but lululemon? That’s a comeback story."
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