How Denim Brand NYDJ Uses Athleisure to Its Advantage

Jessica Binns
Senior Editor

When you’re already solving one of a woman’s biggest pain points when getting dressed — looking one size smaller — what’s left for denim brand NYDJ to do?

According to president and CEO Lisa Collier, the answer lies in creating products that deliver even more benefits and borrowing from athleisure to make that happen. “Athleisure is nothing more than comfort and ease of use,” she explains, adding that athletic and outdoor activities are influencing the technologies that are finding their way into a new generation of denim.

NYDJ — the no. 1 selling women’s denim brand in department stores, offering more than 66 sizes from petite and plus to missy, tall and maternity — is always on the hunt for new fabric technologies and innovations that can solve problems for its customers. Through a partnership with Prosperity Mills, the brand discovered the Fiber J fabric that powers its new Future Fit technology — and received exclusivity on the material.

“At denim shows, everyone talks about THERMOLITE and COOLMAX because everyone has their own version of it,” Collier explains. “Fiber J is not broadly available in the market. There aren’t a lot of linear compression technical fibers out there.”

For now, “no one but the sports industry” offers linear compression that creates a sleek shape while remaining comfortable, so NYDJ is wading into new territory. “We’ve also expanded into adding uplift technology, which makes the consumer look like they’ve been to the gym and they haven’t,” Collier adds.

Working with a new fabric involves more than a few tweaks and nuances in the manufacturing process. “There are more variables to deal with, from washing and determining shrinkage to perfecting patterns up front and achieving the precise sewing and needle tension,” explains Collier. “It requires a lot more preproduction.”

Though NYDJ primarily is a wholesale brand, it operates an e-commerce website and two stores in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Garden City, N.Y. In an effort to further engage with customers directly, the brand recently began hosting shoppable Facebook Live segments to talk up its products and innovations and even featured Emme — routinely credited as the original plus model — to promote awareness of its sizing inclusivity. While the customer wants to know why a certain pair of jeans could work for her, she doesn’t necessarily want to hear about the nitty-gritty technical details, Collier adds.

NYDJ sees a major opportunity to grow internationally as well as in specialty boutiques. As a premium brand with price points in excess of $100, it would benefit from the service levels that an intimate boutique would offer. And because NYDJ uses vanity sizing, a shopper may not know to size down and thus might walk away with a negative experience — something that high-touch service could alleviate.


Jessica Binns is Apparel's senior editor.

Editor's Note: If you liked this article, check out all of our 2017 Top Innovators.

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