Asos caters to a wide spectrum of consumers, and its vast denim offer is suitably diverse. Here, Vanessa Spence, womenswear design director, talks us through the next big trends, and how she and her team go about updating staple fits and features.
How would you define Asos’ denim DNA?
We’re not traditional in the way we work, with denim or otherwise, and we always want to put our own spin on things–consumers come to us to find new takes on trends and themes they might have seen elsewhere. Our customer base is very diverse, and we’re always striving to accommodate all groups when designing, catering for, say, the early adopter, the preppy and the more feminine dresser equally.
Which are the bestselling jean fits at Asos at the moment and how do you currently build an accompanying wardrobe around these?
The skinny is still the bestseller–it’s become a wardrobe staple–but our Farleigh mom jean also performs very well in different washes, colors and prints. We’ve found that the slim mom is a good transition silhouette for shoppers reluctant to let go of their favorite skinny.
Comparing the two, everyone knows and loves the skinny, whereas the mom jean is still considered quite fresh. A whole new look has evolved around it–tops have become shorter to highlight the high waist. This, in turn, has given the belt new life, as there’s a new focus on different ways to emphasize the waist.
What about the skater style jean we’ve been seeing on the fashion pack in recent seasons? What’s your take on it?
Slightly slouchier fits are definitely coming through and though we’ve seen the fashion pack sporting this look for a while, it mainly appeals to the early adopters among Asos’ consumers. Within this family of silhouettes, utilitarian, carpenter-style patch pockets and topstitching feature often. These elements, styled with sneakers, fit the skater-look really well, and we’ll see a lot more of it for fall and beyond. Another big hit for the coming seasons is the wide, ’70s leg. Come winter, it’ll look amazing with chunky jumpers and boots underneath.
How do you update classic fits to appear new?
Customized looks and statement embellishment, with particular focus on sequins, are big. We’re seeing less destroyed details and distressing, it’s more about raw hems now, while placement rips have moved to new areas of the jean, appearing at places like the bum, with shorts peeking out underneath.
In what direction are waists and leg-lengths heading?
The waistline will remain high for a while as it’s brought about a whole new wardrobe of crop tops. As for lengths, ankle grazing is still strong as it goes with any type of footwear. Consumers have realized the practicality of it and can’t seem to get enough of it.
Tell us about the denim weights and technologies you currently bet on.
Our Sculpt Me jeans have been really successful. They’re crafted from a four-way stretch and for winter, the heavyweight version will keep you warm and suck you in. Cord is one of our key fabrics and will be for some time as it lends itself so well to classic denim garments such as jeans and trucker jackets. It’s also a nice vehicle for color–strong hues come out really well in cord. From a trend perspective, it’s the streetier version of velvet.
Just like cord, denim is infiltrating new garment categories. How do you approach “denim dressing” at Asos?
We love taking trends emerging on the catwalk or across social media and interpreting them in a younger, more casual way, and this applies to denim, too. We approach the fabric just like any other material, using it freely across all categories and garment types. Denim dressing is growing massively and we’ve had great success with denim tea dresses, skater skirts and shirtdresses. We use denim for any silhouette, even tops, opting for different weights, washes and colors to make these pieces season-appropriate.
Social media has made trends universally accessible, and as a result, style is less region-specific. Are there still geographical differences in terms specific trends and pieces? What sells well in Asos’ hometown, London, for instance?
Londoners are generally early adopters. They’re quite brave and eclectic and like to try new trends–anything goes, and the denim looks they go for are quite mixed up. Meanwhile, maternity wear does really well in the US. The mom jean is the fit that sells equally well across all regions at the moment.