| Are you like the average American consumer with nine pairs of jeans tucked away in your closet? Well it is time to do some research because that perfectly-fitted pair of Levi’s 501 resting on the top shelf could be worth thousands of dollars. Modern day treasure hunters known as “denim collectors” have paid as much as six figures for collectible and vintage denim clothing.
The collectible denim craze began in Japan with people coveting the iconic American jean. What began as casual treasure hunting by a handful of collectors has grown to global proportions with denim collectors known as “pickers”, traveling the world searching for vintage and rare denim in thrift stores, consignment shops and tag sales.
While the number of hardcore collectors willing to pay upwards of $60,000 for a vintage Lee jacket is small, a substantial segment of the population has no qualms about paying $300 or more for premium denim─ provided it has the perfect fit.
According to Cotton Incorporated’s Lifestyle Monitor™, premium denim consumers are willing to pay nearly 30% above the current retail prices for an ideal fit. Not only are they will to pay more, they are willing to buy more. Last year, the typical jean buyer bought three pairs of jeans; the premium jean buyer bought 10.
One factor fueling this trend is the consumer’s enduring desire for denim. Cotton Incorporated’s Lifestyle Monitor™ reveals that 85% of respondents see more denim in their future. Where there is desire, there are those willing to feed it. “New premium denim labels are entering the market every day,” says Claire Dupuis, Cotton Incorporated Senior Trend Analyst. “It is difficult to pinpoint an exact number, but there are well over 300 hundred by my count,” adds Dupuis. The phenomenon of collectible denim paired with the rapidly growing premium market prove one thing: denim is hotter than ever. Here are a few subtle signs that can help determine the value of your denim. The following criteria apply to collectible and vintage denim:
Rivets are a major clue as to the value of your denim. Experienced shoppers can date garments from the stamps made on the back of the rivet.
The rarity of a garment is difficult to gauge. Many manufacturers are very cautious of counterfeit products and will not verify authenticity. The market and demand will decide the value.
There are many elements in judging the condition of denim. Color, degree of fading and wear have a lot to do with the value of the piece. Buyers from different parts of the world prefer various degrees of condition.
Levi’s, Lee and Wrangler are the most sought after brands with the Levi’s 501 being the standard for most buyers.
About Cotton Incorporated
Cotton Incorporated, funded by U.S. growers of upland cotton and importers of cotton and cotton textile products, is the research and marketing company representing upland cotton. The Program is designed and operated to improve the demand for and profitability of cotton. www.cottoninc.com