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Jeans may have been worn in late 19th century America but they only really caught on in Singapore in the 1970s. The earliest brands to be introduced in the country were Levi’’s, Wrangler, Lee and AMCO.
Today, if you wanted to shop for jeans in the island-state, you would be spoilt for choice. There are nearly 100 labels to choose from. But which are the ones that are most commonly worn on the streets of Singapore?
Levi’s is to jeans what Kleenex is to tissue paper or Xerox was to the photocopier. It is the original blue jeans. Fit and comfort are the oft cited reasons for Levi’s popularity. No wonder, then, that the 166-year-old company rakes in annual revenues of about US$5 billion. Over the years, Levi’s has introduced several styles but the classic 501 and the regular 505 are still the go-to styles for many.
Calvin Klein is known for selling an image and that image is sensuality verging on a bit of raunchiness. One of their earliest jeans ad featured a then 15-year-old Brooke Shield in 1981 declaring that nothing came between her and her Calvin Klein jeans. Provocative, controversial but highly effective - that edge to the brand is why people buy their jeans. They want some of that racy in their wardrobe and their lives.
It says a lot about this Japanese brand that it has managed to win the hearts and pockets of Singaporeans in the mere 10 years that it has been in the country, particularly since it has to battle not just established brands but also American and European labels that the locals have long since considered superior to all others. Today, UNIQLO is synonymous with youthful, affordable street fashion and that is why their jeans are sought after, too. It helps that the store sells all kinds of apparel as well so shoppers can come away with entire outfits.
This Swedish high-street fashion label only opened its doors in Singapore in 2013 but already the nation has embraced it. Singaporeans love a good bargain and this is a primary reason why shoppers here love H&M. This brand is fast fashion at its best. They make the styles of international catwalks readily, easily and cheaply available to the masses.
This British retailer is another affordable brand Singapore loves. Their cut is also kind to local figures. Singaporeans are not generally very large and several of the American and European brands tend to be too loose and long for the petite Asian frame, not so for Topshop and Topman jeans. That aside, their range of styles - high-waisted jeans, trendy Mom jeans, stretch-skinny jeans and the slim-fit denims - is a definite plus.
Spanish brand ZARA has been in Singapore for nearly two decades but its popularity has not waned. In 2017, it added an online option in Singapore amongst some other 100 odd countries. Shoppers love the fact that ZARA often releases new designs, keeping their look continually updated.
Here is another Spanish brand that has won the hearts of Singapore’s shoppers albeit one which has a longer history in the country. MANGO has been in the city for almost 20 years. What the locals love about this label is its ability to take the modern woman from the office to an outing, from day to night. Their jeans use clean lines and strong colours that make them as acceptable in the boardroom as they are on the streets.
This UK brand is loved as much for its versatility as it is for its wallet-friendly prices. The fact that its sizes, jeans included, go up to UK22 is a bonus.